Report: Nationwide political spending projected to hit $10.69B

(The Center Square) – As the 2024 election season gears up, a recently-released report predicts nationwide political spending will reach a record high $10.69 billion.

The Political Projections Report predicts that California, Pennsylvania, and Arizona will have the highest levels of spending on advertising. The report was released on Monday by advertisement tracking company AdImpact.

“This election cycle is on track to be the most expensive on record, projected to have 19% growth over the 2019-2020 cycle total of $9.02B,” the report says. “We project $5.35B on broadcast, $1.93B on cable, $1.51B on CTV, $1.12B on digital, $381M on radio, $309M on network cable, and $102M on satellite.”

The $10.69 billion was a revision from its earlier-predicted number of $10.2 billion. Political interest groups played a role in that upward revision.

“While states hosting competitive presidential and Senate elections are still expected to receive the highest amounts of spending, the dynamics of each election and the potential presence of an abortion-related ballot initiative were important factors in our revised forecast,” the report found.

Maryland, Montana, Ohio and Florida have the largest increase in predicted spending, while West Virginia and Arizona have some of the largest decreases.

“Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema’s decisions not to seek reelection in West Virginia and Arizona were the predominant factors in lowering each state’s overall spending,” AdImpact reported.

The increases in the other states is largely due to abortion or marijuana ballot initiatives.

The report found that spending through June 30 is already up significantly from past elections.

“Through June 30th, we have tracked over $3.10B in spending,” the report says. “Pacing $529M ahead of the 2020 cycle and $71M behind the 2022 cycle.”

Pennsylvania ($360 million), Arizona ($299 million), and Georgia ($244 million) are expected to have the most ad spending targeting the presidential election.

This is also an increase from past election seasons.

“With spending centralized in a handful of swing states that will ultimately decide the election, we expect the general to see $2.16B, a 17% increase over 2020,” the report found.

Down ballot spending, which is “ all political spending that is not presidential, House, Senate, or gubernatorial,” is predicted to be nearly one-third of all political spending in 2024.

“We project $2.68B in the presidential election, $2.15B in the Senate, $1.79B in the House, $469M in gubernatorial, and $3.59B in the down ballot category,” the report says.

Spending on Senate races is down slightly, while projected spending on House races increased from $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion.

While the “true spending season” runs from July 1 through Election Day, AdImpact has already “detected more than 7.4K unique political TV ads, 700 more than 2022 and 2.6K more than 2020 over the same period.”

The report says historically “nearly 70% of political spending occurs between July 1st and Election Day.”