Election Ad Dollars Skyrocket

Democratic-Donkey-GOP-Elephant-AIt happens every election cycle, and the juxtaposition is likely to continue. People say they despise negative political ads. Yet political ad gurus will tell you they work, so they aren’t going away. (Example: anti-Romney Bain Capital spots.)

So it’s easy to dismiss any warning signs about backlash -- one of the latest being a survey from Baltimore ad agency MGM, which found that 47% of respondents said they change the channel or hit the mute button during an attack ad.

The research -- conducted via an online survey in April -- also found that 88% say they are put off by negative ads.

Yet, political ad spending -- presumably with a good dose of positive ads as well -- continues to boom this year. In the period from May 6-June 3, total TV political spending for the year rose 53% to $473 million, according to a new Wells Fargo report.



PACs and SuperPACs are poised to inject more money than ever, having raised $840 million in this federal-election political cycle, which began in January 2011. That’s two-thirds of what was raised in each of the last two political cycles.

The Wells Fargo report shows just how much the recent, hotly contested Wisconsin recall elections injected big political money into the state. The Milwaukee market saw a nearly $5 million infusion in ad dollars in the May 6-June 3 period, good for fifth nationwide -- behind Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland and San Diego.

The Madison, Wis. market, which is the country’s 85th largest, came in 20th with a nearly $1.8 million haul.

A trio of Wisconsin markets led the country in percent of revenue from political spending this year through June 3, topped by the Wausau market, the country’s 135th largest, at 14%.

Recall money in the May 6-June 3 period accounted for nearly half of all political dollars the Milwaukee market brought in this year, helping push it to fourth nationally with $10.4 million. Los Angeles was again first, followed by Cleveland, since presidential candidates consider Ohio to be a major battleground.

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