Republican Mitt Romney and his allies are spending nearly twice as much on television advertisements this week than President Obama and his supporters, according to sources watching the advertising market.
Romney's campaign, the Republican National Committee and Crossroads GPS, the 501(c)(4) organization that backs Romney, are each spending a little over $6 million on ads that will run from July 17-23. All told, the Republican groups are spending $19.1 million in advertisements in nine battleground states.
Obama's campaign is spending $9.6 million this week in 10 states. Priorities USA Action, the super PAC that supports his campaign, is spending another $1.1 million in five states.
Democratic fears that Romney and Republican outside groups would outspend the president are beginning to prove prescient -- Republicans are spending more than Democrats this week in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia. Crossroads GPS is spending nearly $500,000 on advertising in Michigan, where neither Romney's nor Obama's campaign are on the air.
Obama's campaign is only outspending Republicans in one state, Pennsylvania.
And Obama is only likely to fall further behind. American Crossroads, the super PAC wing of the Crossroads family, has reserved almost $40 million in advertisements in eight states that won't air until September and October. Purchasing air time months beforehand guarantees the group access, and at less expensive rates than those who try to buy advertising at the last minute.
More than $320 million has been spent on television ads so far, just since the beginning of May. The majority of that cash has gone toward persuading voters in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia -- three states that alone account for more than $162 million in total ad spending.
Both sides are spending most heavily in several key television markets. Obama's campaign has already spent more than $7.6 million and Romney's more than $3.4 million in the Cleveland market, which reaches more than 33 percent of Ohio voters. Obama won the Cleveland market by more than 10 points in 2008.
Obama's team has spent more than $5 million in the Denver, Orlando, Tampa, and Las Vegas media markets, the data show. Romney, who started advertising later after refilling his campaign coffers, has spent more than $1 million in 16 media markets so far.
The spending is all in pursuit of the 270 electoral votes each side needs to win the White House. And those votes are getting pricey: So far, Democrats have spent more than $1.5 million per electoral vote in Colorado, Iowa and Ohio. Republicans have spent nearly $2.5 million for each of New Hampshire's four electoral votes, and almost $2.4 million trying to win Iowa's six votes.
Iowa's electoral votes are proving the most expensive. Combined, the two sides have spent more than $3.9 million per electoral vote there. New Hampshire has cost almost the same, while both sides have spent more than $3 million per electoral vote in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia too.