President Obama, Mitt Romney, and the outside groups bolstering their campaigns have spent more than $100 million on television advertising, according to sources tracking the buys.
The spending, for ads that have run or are slated to run in the next few weeks, has dominated television airwaves in just 10 swing states, the data show. This week alone, residents in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have been deluged with about $17 million in advertising.
Voters in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia have been the biggest targets so far. All sides have spent $20.3 million in Florida, $19.8 million in Ohio, and $14.8 million in Virginia, according to the data.
Although Democrats fret about the impact of outside groups on the presidential campaign, the data show Obama and his allies have actually outspent Romney and Republican groups. Obama's campaign alone has spent $44.7 million, while Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC, has dished out more than $9 million. Planned Parenthood has spent an additional $1.5 million across three states.
In fact, Obama's team has outspent Romney in seven of the 10 swing states. Obama's advantage is largest in Colorado, where Democrats' $5.2 million outpaces Republicans' $1.9 million; Ohio, where Democrats have spent $11.8 million versus Republicans' $8 million; and Florida, where Democrats have spent $11.4 million to the GOP's $8.9 million. Democrats also enjoy spending edges in Iowa, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Romney and his allies have dropped $44.8 million into television spots so far. Crossroads GPS, the outside group led by Karl Rove, has spent $22.3 million so far. Romney's campaign, which is still reloading after capturing the Republican nomination, has spent $7.78 million on advertising in seven of those nine swing states.
Restore Our Future, the explicitly pro-Romney super PAC, has spent a little more than $4 million, while conservative groups American Future Fund and Americans for Prosperity have together spent more than $10 million.
Romney and Republicans have spent $2.8 million in Michigan, a state where Democrats have made only a tiny advertising buy. Polling earlier this week showed Romney and Obama statistically tied in the state, which Obama won by 16 points in 2008. Republicans have also outspent Democrats in New Hampshire and North Carolina, two states Obama won by narrower margins four years ago.
After a month in which Romney's campaign and the Republican National Committee outraised Obama and the Democratic National Committee by $17 million, Romney's team has begun ramping up its own ad spending. This week, Romney's campaign is spending $2.1 million on major ad campaigns in six states. The largest buys are in North Carolina ($623,000), Ohio ($824,000), and Iowa ($310,000).
Obama's campaign is spending more than $6 million this week, including nearly $1.3 million in Ohio, more than $800,000 in North Carolina and Virginia, and more than $400,000 in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.