Las Vegas, Denver See Most TV Ads in Record Presidential Campaign Run

Photograph by David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A "welcome to Las Vegas" sign inside the MGM Resorts International casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In Las Vegas, presidential campaign advertising has been as ubiquitous as the gaudy neon on the Strip.

A study out today by the Wesleyan Media Project at Wesleyan University found that the presidential campaigns and their allies aired 8,057 ads on TV and national cable in the Nevada gambling mecca from Oct. 1-21, second only to the 9,950 spots that ran in Denver.

Both Nevada and Colorado are among the handful of swing states that  President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are concentrating on.

The study found that the campaigns and outside groups aired more than 915,000 ads through Oct. 21, a 45 percent increase over the 637,000 TV commercials that ran through the same period four years ago.

“When all is said and done, 2012 will go down as a record pulverizing year for political advertising,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which analyzed the data from New York-based Kantar Media’s CMAG.

In the last three weeks, the ads were concentrated on media markets in the swing states that political analysts say will decide the winner on Election Day. All 15 markets with the most ads from Oct. 1-21 reached viewers in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. Denver, Las Vegas and Tampa, home of the 2012 Republican National Convention, led the list.

Obama and outside groups supporting his re-election ran more spots in 13 of those 15 markets than Romney and his allies, the study found. Romney and the Republicans had an advantage in just two: Norfolk, Virginia, and Columbus, Ohio.

In each of those 15 markets, Obama’s campaign ran more ads than anyone else. That advantage was partially offset by the help Romney received from the Republican National Committee, super-political action committees supporting his candidacy and outside groups.

Obama’s money went further than did that of Romney and his allies, because campaigns can buy TV ads for less than outside groups.

The Obama campaign “is funding most of its own advertising, which entitles his campaign to the lowest rate,” said Travis Ridout, another Wesleyan co-director. “By contrast, many ads supporting Romney are paid for by outside groups, which must pay whatever the market will bear to get their ads on the air.”




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