A study by the Wesleyan Media Project released yesterday found that Denver’s television stations have run more presidential campaign ads than in any other market this month, further emphasizing Colorado’s importance in the 2012 Presidential election. From October 1 through October 21, a total of 9,950 ads aired on broadcast TV for either President Barack Obama or Governor Mitt Romney. The study estimates the ad costs to be around $13.7 million, the highest in the nation.
Following Denver, in terms of ad volume, was Las Vegas (#2), Tampa, Fla. (#3), Cleveland (#4) and Orlando (#5).
The report also highlighted that Obama had an ad-count advantage in 13 of the top 15 markets, including Denver. The Obama campaign and pro-Obama groups ran 1,646 more ads and spent approximately $550,000 more in the Denver market in October than did Romney supporters. And, yet, the Obama campaign is still falling behind challenger Mitt Romney.
But, Denver isn’t the only media market that has been targeted during this presidential campaign. The Grand Junction media market has aired 5,378 presidential campaign ads and Colorado Springs media market has aired 4,788 presidential campaign ads this month. Additionally, the newly-drawn boundaries that make CD6 more competitive have attracted top advertising dollar, ranking it 13th nationwide for the most TV ads. Republican incumbent Mike Coffman is besting Democratic challenger Joe Miklosi with 2,104 ads as compared to 1,506, respectively.
Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, highlighted a few of the national trends:
“When all is said and done, 2012 will go down as a record pulverizing year for political advertising. We’ve already surpassed the total number of presidential ads aired during the entire 2008 campaign—and we still have two weeks to go before Election Day. What is especially striking is that the ads are concentrated on fewer markets than 2008, meaning that a smaller number of Americans have witnessed the onslaught of messages in the race for the White House.”
Below is a chart of the campaign spending in October and in the general election.
Finally, the tone and topics of the races have proved interesting – and show that Obama feels more threatened than he conveys. According to the study, 73% of ads paid for the official Obama campaign have been negative in tone, but just 36% of official Romney ads have been negative. Outside groups are far more negative in tone. Eighty-nine percent of ads supporting Obama, and 95 percent of ads supporting Romney are negative.
In terms of topics, the campaigns differ extensively there as well. The top five topics of pro-Obama ads are taxes, economic disparity, deficit, health care, and jobs; whereas the top topics in pro-Romney ads are jobs, deficit, government spending, taxes, and recession or economic stimulus.