Local television stations are reaping an unprecedented harvest of more than $700 million in advertising spending around the presidential contest as the two campaigns and their outside allies continue accelerating spending rates.
President Obama, Mitt Romney, and outside groups spent more than $55 million on advertising running between Sept. 25 and Oct. 1, according to sources watching the advertising market. Obama's campaign alone spent $21 million during the last week, while Romney's campaign dropped $14 million on its own advertising.
All told, Obama's team has spent a total of $285 million on broadcast, cable, and radio advertising, while Romney's camp has spent $117 million. Add in outside spending and the total spent on the general election tops $724.6 million to date. With 39 days to go until Election Day, the 2012 campaign has already eclipsed the total amount spent in the 2008 cycle.
Ohio, Florida, and Virginia continue to be top targets for candidate advertising. The two sides are spending a combined $11.4 million reaching Buckeye State voters; $12.6 million in the Sunshine State; and $10.5 million in the Commonwealth this week alone. All three states have seen more than $114 million spent on advertising already.
Romney and Obama are each spending in nine states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. And Obama has the upper hand in seven of those states; Romney is only outspending the president in North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Even with an already-crowded advertising market, the proliferation of outside groups continues. Americans for Job Security, an organization funded by Omaha billionaire Joe Ricketts, entered the fray this week by spreading $8.6 million among battleground states Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.
But other outside groups are spending less. American Crossroads, the super PAC wing of the Crossroads empire, spent just $982,000 on ads this week, while Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the 501(c)(4) arm, spent $395,000 this week. In both cases, that's about one-eighth of what the two groups spent last week, though it's still more than they have spent in previous weekly periods earlier this year. Americans for Prosperity is running only minimal advertising this week, spending a total of $180,000 as its earlier advertising buy runs its course.
The twin Crossroads groups have spent a total of $120 million on advertisements focused on the presidential race, while AFP has spent $46 million on its own ads.
The pro-Obama Priorities USA Action, meanwhile, is spending $3.4 million on its advertising this week across six states. The group has dropped $57 million so far this year.
Obama's campaign is spending more than $1 million in the Denver, Orlando, Tampa, Boston, Cleveland, and Washington media markets this week. Romney's campaign is spending more than seven figures only in the Washington market.