Campaign Spending–Almost $3.7 billion so far

According to Open Secrets (, the Center for Responsive Politics conservatively estimates that “the current election cycle will cost $3.7 billion, reaffirming an initial cost-of-election prediction from earlier this year. The Center now forecasts, however, that final spending numbers for the full cycle will likely flirt with the $4 billion mark.

As of today, the Center calculates that Republicans have raised $1.64 billion to Democrats’ $1.59 billion. These figures include money raised by candidates and parties, and the money reported by outside organizations. The party split for outside money include independent expenditures on behalf of or against Democrats or Republicans; electioneering communications based on the general ideological leanings of the organization; and receipts by 527 organizations that are not already included elsewhere.

That’s enough cash to run the city of Pittsburgh for two years. Buy every resident of Topeka a nice used car. Or treat each and every American to a Big Mac and fries.”

Simple descriptive statistics. This assumes that all the money pouring into the 2010 election is being counted, but still, even if there is some slippage in reporting, this is a lot of money.

Question: Should it really cost this much money for people to run off elected offices? (opinion)
Question: Who is contributing all this money? (descriptive question)
Question: Is there a relationship between spending and winning an election? (cause and effect question)

Clearly the election industry is booming. Maybe it pays to study marketing, polling and statistics–they will for sure be hiring for 2012.

One thought on “Campaign Spending–Almost $3.7 billion so far

  1. 82.5 million people voted in 2010 election–or at least that was what reported in Nate Silver’s blog.
    I did not see anything yet about paricipaion rates. In in 2008, there were 212.7 million eligible voters, 169 million registered voters and 133 million who actually voted.
    Assuming that there are still about 212.7 million eligble voters, the 82.5 voters represent a 38 percent participation rate.
    I am not sure that 38 percent is all that good for a democracy.
    Looking at 2010 and 2008 voters, yesterday’s voters represented 62% of the number of voters in 2008.
    It does raise questions about why people did not vote.
    While the press will focus on this being a statement about the Republicans or the Tea Party–and those are important stories–I am curious about the people who sat this one out.

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