Sabato's Crystal Ball

Help! I’m Drowning in Tv Ads!

It’s only April and the flood has begun

Larry J. Sabato, Director, U.Va. Center for Politics May 1st, 2014

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U.Va. Center for Politics Director Larry J. Sabato is contributing a regular column to Politico Magazine. This week he takes a look at the first batch of campaign ads this cycle. — The Editors

Remember when someone could publish a book about TV commercials entitled The Best Thing on TV? It wouldn’t sell today in any election year.

With upwards of $2.6 billion estimated to be spent on political TV spots in 2014 — an increase of 10 percent or more from the last midterm election in 2010 — you’d best get ready for the assault on your senses. Only two states have held a primary, and yet federal and gubernatorial candidates have already spent more than $100 million just on television advertising since the start of the fourth quarter in 2014.

Even at this early point in the cycle, political advertising is widespread: Based on records maintained by the Sunlight Foundation, only eight of the nation’s 50 biggest TV markets had no political ad purchases in the first three months of the year.

To read the rest of the column, please click here.