How much does an electoral vote cost?
In the heavily contested swing states, the cost of courting those votes adds up to the price of a small Cezanne. The presidential candidates and their super-PACs are nearing the half-billion dollar mark in TV advertising.
Kantar Media/CMAG provided Bloomberg with the numbers for 13 swing states accounting for 157 electoral votes – 58 percent of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Overall, spending on TV ads in those states has risen 62 percent compared with 2008.
Nevada’s six electoral votes are the most expensive — so far, they’ve drawn $5,621,133 each in TV ad spending for Nevada, more than twice the $2,740,451 spent per Nevada electoral vote in the last presidential election.
See Julianna Goldman’s report on Bloomberg Television, and read it here:
Virginia isn’t far behind. At this point, the presidential candidates or their surrogates are campaigning there weekly to fight for its 13 electoral votes — Mitt Romney is in Virginia today to deliver a foreign policy speech. Virginia’s electoral votes have drawn $5,009,289 each in TV ad spending, up 72 percent since 2008.
A couple of the battlegrounds have lost electoral votes since the last election.
The reapportionment after the 2010 Census cost Iowa one electoral vote, while Ohio lost two.
Iowa’s electoral votes are worth $4.85 million apiece, up 272.8 percent over 2008, the CMAG data show. And Ohio’s loss doesn’t change the often-cited fact that no Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. The TV ad spending suggests that Romney isn’t ready to be the first to try to pull off that feat, even though his campaign is being outspent 3-1 by the Obama campaign there, according to Nielsen. All told, spending in Ohio has reached $4.35 million per electoral vote.
Not every state has seen the cost of its electoral votes rise.
Wisconsin, for instance, has only seen 42 percent of what was spent per vote in 2008.
Nielsen’s numbers have a little more detail. They show the Obama campaign has flooded the nine major battleground states with 230,000 ads, compared with 87,000 from the Romney campaign. Of those nine, there is only one where the Romney campaign has outspent the p president’s — Wisconsin– where the Romney campaign put up 1,952 ads to the Obama campaign’s 1,391.
In the two elections prior to 2008, Wisconsin was won by the slimmest of margins – - by 0.4 percent in 2004 and 0.2 percent in 2000. Obama won the state in 2008 by 14 points. But there’s still a little time to invest more there — with new excitement among Republicans about the prospects of taking Wisconsin after Romney added a Wisconsinite, Rep. Paul Ryan, to the ticket.
Ultimately, this is yet another illustration of how much campaigns are willing to spend on hundreds of thousands of TV ads in a few states for a handful of undecided voters. After Election Day, we’ll see if we can put together how much the campaigns spent on the individual votes, though we don’t know that we’ll be able to say whether or not voters were actually watching.
Mike Callahan contributed to this report.