Presidential TV ads: $7.2 million so far

Spending through July less than half of 2004 campaign

LANSING – Television advertising for the 2008 presidential general election got a late start by recent Michigan standards but presidential TV ads have become a consistent presence in recent weeks.

John McCain’s television campaign began May 28th and spent $3.2 million by July 20th.

Barack Obama’s TV campaign began June 20th and spent $2.7 million by July 28th.

In a preview of its likely role supporting McCain for the fall campaign, the Republican National Committee ran statewide ads supporting McCain from July 6-15, spending $963,000 during that period.

The Michigan Campaign Finance Network collected the advertising data between July 17th and 22nd from the public files of Michigan broadcasters and cable systems. Sales figures are gross sales. Data do not include the Marquette market, which typically represents two to three percent of sales in a statewide campaign.

This year’s advertising campaign was much later starting in Michigan than 2004. Last election cycle, advertising began March 4th and $12 million had already been spent by Memorial Day. June and July spending in 2004 totaled only $4.5 million, however, compared to $7.2 million so far this year. Total spending by the end of July 2004 was $16.5 million, more than double this year’s total.

Another major difference this year compared to 2004 is the markedly reduced activity of third-party 527 groups. Led by the Media Fund and AFL-CIO, pro-Kerry 527s spent $2.5 million by Memorial Day 2004. This year’s leading 527 so far is the pro-McCain ‘Vets for Freedom.’ The Vets spent $261,000 in selected markets in July. The AFL-CIO answered the Vets in the Flint/Tri-cities market with a $46,000 buy.

Overall, presidential television advertising totaled $38 million in Michigan in 2004. Michigan’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign included $56 million of television advertising.

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