The 2012 Presidential campaign hasn't even hit high season yet and both campaigns have already spent half a billion dollars on TV and radio ads, according to NBC News.
The total includes money spent by both campaigns as well as outside spending by the Super PAC that support them. So far, according to an NBC News/Smart Media Group Delta analysis, more than $512 million has been spent on campaign ads -- about the same as was spent on advertising in the entire 2008 Presidential election.
Campaign ad spending is expected to reach $2.9 billion by the end of the year, according to the International Business Times.
NBC reports that the majority of outside spending, about $9 out of every $10 – in total, $205 million – spent by outside Super PAC's is going to benefit Republican challenger Mitt Romney. One Romney-backing Super PAC, Restore Our Future, spent $10 million on a new television spot attacking President Obama's handling of the economy, according to AP. The spot will air for more than a week in 11 swing states including Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
This week, the 2012 campaign experienced a "Super Tuesday" in advertising spending. According to the Washington Times, Restore Our Future's $10 million ad buy on Tuesday was followed by another $1 million buy on Wednesday, and a Super PAC supporting President Obama also spent $1 million on the same day.
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The Washington Times notes that the only day with more outside spending was in January, when a Super PAC backing then-candidate Newt Gingrich used money from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson to buy $12 million worth of ads.
The massive ad buys from both campaigns are welcome revenue source for local TV stations. The International Business Times reports that political ad sales are a bright spot in an otherwise weak market. Spending on local TV ads beat expectations and rose by nearly 10 percent in the second quarter of 2012.