After months and months of Republican primaries, presidential election rallies, debates and endless attacks against both President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, it’s Election Day. Although Wednesday’s headlines will be all about the winner of the race, a new report highlights how much both men spent on their respective campaigns, which may be the bigger story.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) published data that shows the campaigns spent a total of $1.7 billion until the middle of October. That amounts to $79 million per month, $2.6 million per day and $30.33 per second on television ads, banners, rallies and other campaign advertising.
When breaking down the two candidates, the incumbent commander in chief spent $30 million more than his GOP opponent.
From Jan. 2011 to Oct. 2012, the Obama campaign dumped $553.2 million into the White House race, while the Democratic National Committee spent another $263.2 million. The top three Super PACs supporting President Obama threw in another $58 million. That’s a grand total of $874.6 million and that doesn’t include the days leading up to the election.
In the same period, Romney spent $360.4 million plus $284.2 million by the Republican National Committee and an additional $200.1 million from the top three Super PACs endorsing Romney. That’s a grand total of $844.6 million.
When combining both campaigns, it equals $1.72 billion.
Also, costs per voter are quite high. There are nearly 150 million registered voters and the Obama team spent $5.98 per voter, while the Romney campaign put in $5.77 per voter, which is a total of $11.75 per registered voter.
“You, obviously, have immense amounts of money and phenomenally few undecided voters. But, campaigns don’t care about efficiency, they care about winning,” said Ken Goldstein, president of Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, in an interview with CNN. “If you spend $500 million and you win by half a percent in Ohio, that was worth it, even if it’s a lot of money per vote.”
Looking back at previous elections, this is the first time that an election campaign has exceeded $1 billion.
Between 1980 (President Jimmy Carter vs. Governor Ronald Reagan) and 2000 (Governor George W. Bush vs. Vice President Al Gore), campaign spending increased from $528 million (2012 numbers) to $899 million, which is a boost from $5 per registered voter to $7.
These figures don’t even include the congressional and senate races throughout the United States. According to a report from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the general election campaign spending until Nov. 4, 2012 is now at $4.2 billion, up from $3.8 billion four years ago.
The group issued a press release that notes the final number will be $6 billion by the end of Election Day.
“In the new campaign finance landscape post-Citizens United, we’re seeing historic spending levels spurred by outside groups dominated by a small number of individuals and organizations making exceptional contributions,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics.”
Who’s giving these campaigns so much money? The top three sectors contributing funds to the campaigns are the finance, insurance and real estate industries ($141.2 million; 54 percent to Democrats), lawyers and lobbyists ($100.7 million; 78.2 percent to Democrats) and miscellaneous business ($86.6 million; 78.2 percent to Democrats).
Furthermore, overall fundraising for Obama has increased. Retirees, retailers, women’s groups, hospitals, nursing homes and the technology industry have all stepped up and given more to the president’s re-election campaign than they did in 2008.
In total, approximately 4.2 million have donated, roughly one million more than four years ago.