Kelly Scott Madison

Election 2016 Forecast



Expect a record-setting boom in political spending

Spending by candidates, parties and outside groups could reach $10-12 billion across all local, state and federal election cycles in 2016 according to Borrell Associates. It is being estimated that should Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush receive their parties’ nominations, each could spend more than $2 billion, approximately twice as much as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent in 2012. Many of the Republication contenders such as Walker, Rubio, Cruz and Paul have already amassed $50 million war chests, including super PACs (which have no contribution limits) to spend before next February’s first four contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The stakes will rise even higher in March when candidates spend big money prior to individual states’ winner take-all primaries.

Television advertising is expected to remain the largest line item in every federal candidate’s budget, as campaigns bank on the mass reach and frequency of traditional broadcast media. Despite the rise of on-demand television programming, the shift from watching live TV to recorded or time-shifted broadcasts has not yet reached a tipping point. According to Nielsen, likely voters aged 45 and older still spend an average of 7.5 hours a day in front of their TV sets, far more time than they spend on their personal computers, smartphones and tablets.

In addition, older Americans—those who are the most dependable voters—watch more television than their younger counterparts, so efficient, broad reach is still a winner for political spending. In the past, political advertising could...

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