A new analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project has identified $617 million in spending on television ads in the presidential race, while digital spending in the presidential race has soared to about $260 million.
"It is possible we reach $1 billion in ad spending before Super Tuesday," said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.
Television advertising was led by Michael Bloomberg, whose spending has surpassed $377 million for over 444,000 ads (Table 1). Tom Steyer has spent $144 million, while Bernie Sanders has spent $20 million on television ads in the nomination campaign. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has spent $17 million on television ads since January 2019.
Candidate spending has overshadowed group spending in the presidential race this year, with just under $16 million in spending by groups (Table 2). The biggest spender is Unite the Country, a super PAC that supports Joe Biden. It mostly aired ads in Iowa and in New Hampshire, but put some ads on the air in Nevada before the caucus there. It has aired no ads (through 2/23) in upcoming Super Tuesday states. Also notable is the presence of Persist PAC, which has spent almost $800,000 (in Nevada and South Carolina) on ads in support of Elizabeth Warren and Kitchen Table Conversations, which has spent over $450,000 on ads (mostly in Nevada and South Carolina) supporting Amy Klobuchar. In addition, DMFI PAC, a pro-Israel organization, spent over $1 million on ads that attack Bernie Sanders (before the Iowa and Nevada caucuses).