Candidates’ Television Advertising: Return on Investment

As of last Sunday, the presidential campaigns have spent more than $100 million on television advertising, according to the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.  The top spender?  Mitt Romney, who coughed up $29 million, more than all of his primary opponents combined.  Yet Romney’s investment returns – three golds, two of which came in uncontested states – have been fairly poor.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama led the way with $23 million, while Hillary Clinton followed at $18 million.  At least on the airwaves, the tone of the leading duo’s campaigns was overwhelmingly positive.  All of Obama’s ads were positive, while the few negative ones coming from Clinton were aimed at President Bush.  Another interesting finding: Obama narrated 83% of his ads, while Clinton narrated only 43% of hers.


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