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One million dollars in TV ads reaches a greater proportion of Nevadans than Floridians. But I often read about the total spending on TV ads in a given swing state, and in that metric, Florida, Ohio and Virginia are the leaders.

What happens when we look at TV spending in a slightly more nuanced way? What if we instead consider the amount of spending per voter (i.e. estimated voters in 2008) and the amount of spending per electoral college vote (ECV)?

(I've aggregated spending by candidates, political parties and supportive super-PACs and c4s.)

Each way of analyzing it, produces a different picture for how team blue and how team red have prioritized their TV spending (states receiving the most spending are listed at the top):


There are definitely limitations to this analytical approach. Airtime is cheaper for campaigns than for PACs, but this analysis treats all dollars as equal. (Of the total TV spending in swing states since May, Obama's campaign accounts for 72% of team blue's spending, while Romney's campaign and the RNC account for 51% of team red.) Also, the analysis does not include national level TV ads, and more importantly, it does not include money going to the ground game, campaign offices, staff, etc.

Anyways, here what's being spent on TV ads per voter:Photobucket
I think this is a useful metric for comparing to Nate Silver's return on investment index (see: 538), which is "the relative likelihood that an individual voter would determine the Electoral College winner."  

And here's the spending on TV ads per ECV:

(Edit to above table: Democrats have spent 49K on WI, not 5K)

In the coming two and a half months, Republicans may open up more of a spending advantage.

But when it comes to the ground game, we are second to none:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, askew, abgin, ban nock
  •  i'm confused by the lack of comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    i'd appreciate any feedback about this

    is it not interesting?
    was it obvious?
    are things somewhat confusing, in terms of writing, table layout, methods, etc.?

  •  So few battleground states (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    distraught, askew

    Only 8 unlucky states have had to suffer thru a million bucks or more of campaign ads in the presidential race.

    So unless there's a big change in the flow between now and the election, it's 'nevermind' about PA, WI, and MI.

    FL and NC are not looking too hot either.

    Maybe the Repubs are counting on their racist stuff -- the 'Obama & the ni66ers on welfare' ads, etc. -- to bring those ex-Confederate states home.

    Meanwhile Team Obama doesn't have the funds to fight in those big-media-market states unless or until they can firm up some of the other battlegrounds like NV, NH, and VA.

    I don't see Obama reducing spending in Ohio until the day after Election Day. No Repub has ever won the Presidency without winning OH, so denying the state to Rmoney is essential.

  •  Thanks for putting this together. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This election has really tightened early on the swing states.

    President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

    by askew on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 10:54:10 AM PDT

  •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

    I was going to put together a spreadsheet, and run linear regression in the close states to see the extent to which differences in advertising could explain changes in individual states.

    Do you have a spreadsheet you could put in google docs?

    The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

    by fladem on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 07:23:07 PM PDT

    •  i have two spreadsheets (0+ / 0-)

      one that lists the spending from May to Aug 20, and the second lists the spending over that recent three week period. The second spreadsheet, though, does not have the weekly amounts, since i just added the three numbers together on a calculator and then only imputed one number into the spreadsheet so that each group/campaign had one number per state. I think you would need a spreadsheet with the week by week numbers, in order to run this analysis. An interesting component of that analysis could be to include Nate's elasticity number for the swing states.

      -- Diary: Per capita TV spending shows FL receiving less attention than NV, NH, IA, CO, VA & OH.

      by distraught on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 02:28:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you very much ) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It is very interesting to see where is going the money.

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