A lot of the political spending so far has been tied to the presidential race, but an ad tracking firm says it has seen an uptick in pre-booking among several key U.S. Senate races.
AdImpact says $88 million worth of ad time was reserved last week across Montana and Nevada by three different groups for their Senate general elections in what was the first major prebooking of the 2024 cycle.
The money came from WinSenate, a Democratic group looking to hold onto the Senate. It booked ads worth $35 million in Nevada to back incumbent Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and another $26 million in Montana supporting incumbent Senator John Tester (D-MT).
The Republicans are spending too, as they look to gain total control of Congress. The GOP groups Senate Leadership Fund and American Crossroads spent $22 million in Montana, hoping to knock off Tester.
In terms of money already spent, AdImpact says $19.9 million has been invested in Montana to date and $577,000 in Nevada. But based on the reservations, broadcasters in both states can be optimistic about what’s to come.
Political dollars are flowing in New York City, ahead of a Feb. 13 special election for the House seat vacated by Rep. George Santos. AdImpact says $6.8 million has been spent as Democrats hope to pick up what has been a Republican seat. The California Senate contest is also driving spending on the West Coast. AdInpact says $5.9 million has been invested in political ads in Los Angeles during the past two weeks, with another $4.2 million spent in the San Francisco market. The highest spending advertisers were the groups Schiff for CA Senate ($5.8 million), Porter for CA Senate ($2.5 million), and the Congressional Leadership Fund ($2.1 million).
The latest political ad spending tally by AdImpact shows $1.57 billion has been spent during the 2024 election cycle as of Feb.2. That is ahead of the $1.4 billion invested at this point four years ago.
The next Republican presidential primary is in South Carolina on Feb. 24, but the ad dollars have not yet materialized as they did in Iowa or New Hampshire. AdImpact says former South Carolina Governor Nicki Haley is “dominating” the airwaves, spending $5.6 million compared to just $400,000 that has been invested by former President Donald Trump and his supporters. All of Trump’s spending has been on digital, too. “There has yet to be a broadcast ad in South Carolina in favor of Trump,” says AdImpact. And beyond just South Carolina, the firm says pro-Haley ads across the country add up to $78.9 million to date, versus $58.3 million for Trump.
President Biden has been spending despite having only modest challengers on the Democratic ticket. AdImpact says the Biden Victory Fund has been the top spender on Facebook and Google so far, spending $1.2 million with the digital players.
AdImpact projects a record $10.2 billion will be spent during the 2023-2024 election cycle across all media, including radio. The forecast, if accurate, would mean political ad spending will grow 13% from the record $9.02 billion that was spent during the last presidential election cycle four years ago.