The presidential election remains more than a year away, but through the first three quarters of 2023 the tracking firm AdImpact says $834 million has been spent on the 2024 campaign cycle. That is a 75% bump up from what was invested in political ads at this point during the previous presidential election cycle. The tally includes not only what the presidential candidates are spending, but also the ads placed by candidates for the Senate, House, and other state and local races. Analysts expect the gap between the two cycles to close in the coming months, which could mean 2023 goes into the books as a record year for political spending with very little actual voting taking place.
Former President Donald Trump continues to have a substantial lead in the polls among Republicans, but his primary opponents have not yet thrown in the towel. And that has meant plenty of political advertising for radio and other media outlets. So far, AdImpact says the presidential race has seen a combined total of $217 million with Republican spending making up 82.5% of the total.
President Biden’s reelection campaign has, however, begun to kick into drive, having spent more than some of the Republican primary contenders. AdImpact data says his campaign has now spent $5.1 million on ads in the swing states, including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. It notes that the Biden team was on the airwaves last Wednesday night during the GOP debate.
But it remains the Republicans where most of the ad dollars are originating. Even with his dominant position among GOP voters, Trump supporters have not been taking any chances. AdImpact says MAGA Inc., the political action committee that is pushing for his reelection, has spent $24.3 million on ads. Radio stations may not be seeing much of the MAGA buys, however. That is because nearly 80% of the PAC’s spending has gone into national cable television ads.
Never Back Down, the political group supporting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also been heavily spending, despite his fading in the polls. AdImpact says the PAC has spent $37.4 million on ads to date, mostly in Iowa. That pace will continue in October, with Never Back Down reserving another $7 million on broadcast ads plus $1 million worth of cable TV spots.
Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s PAC is called SFA Fund and it has also been bumping up its ad investment. The group has spent $14.1 million on ads so far, with $1.2 million of ads reserved in October, plus another $1 million in November. As she has focused mainly on the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, AdImpact says Haley’s PAC is now the fifth biggest advertiser in the presidential race.
Meantime, the American Exceptionalism PAC, which supports tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has spent $4.6 million on ads. About half of it has gone to digital ads on Google and Facebook.
Overall, AdImpact says Iowa has seen the most ad dollars to date, totaling $71.9 million. New Hampshire is second, at $43.9 million.
Among the big GOP presidential contenders, Senator Rick Scott (R-SC) is still on track to outspend his rivals. AdImpact says he has allocated $18.5 million so far, with another $33.3 million of ad time reserved in the coming months.
DeSantis has spent the most to date, with $26.6 million of ads already aired, with another $12.5 million in ad time reserved.
The Trump campaign is using a different strategy, focused on the here and now. AdImpact says it has spent $27 million so far, with just $800,000 of ad reservations currently in place.