US presidential elections' ad spend touch $600 million mark

MUMBAI: The US presidential elections' advertising campaign, which is being touted as the most expensive one till date, will draw to a close today. Results however, will be made known only tomorrow in the US and consequentially on Thursday in India. This step has been taken to avoid confusion over the results as was the case in the last presidential election in 2000 when the final result went unconfirmed for weeks.



It is being said that the dollar spends by President George Bush and Senator John Kerry have been on the lines of $600+ million, which is almost three times more than the amount spent on television and radio commercials in 2000.

Also notable is the fact that Kerry has been the apple of the eye of the media in the US and has been getting more praise from journalists than any other presidential candidate in the last quarter-century, as per the analysis done by Center for Media and Public Affairs. The agency's director Bob Lichter was quoted in a media report as saying, "It's not just that John Kerry has gotten better press than President Bush before this election, he's gotten better press than anyone else since 1980. That's significant."



In October alone, Kerry had a whopping 77 per cent positive press evaluations as compared to Bush's 34 per cent, the study states. Until this year, the record-holder for journalistic praise was Walter Mondale (56 per cent) in 1984.

The study states that in the last seven elections since 1980, the Democratic candidate has got significantly better press in four of those elections and that Republicans fared better in the press than Democrats in only one race - George H W Bush over Michael Dukakis in 1988.



Since March, Kerry and the Democratic Party have poured about $250 million into television and radio ads compared with about $240 for Bush and the Republican National Committee said a media report.

The campaign ads ran on national cable networks, but most aired on local television and radio stations in the 17 most competitive states. In the final two days of the campaign, commercials were focused on nine states where the polls showed that the race was extraordinarily tight.

One media report said that the primary reason for the record spending was the 2002 campaign finance reform law, which barred political parties from collecting corporate and union money. So, parties hustled to raise money from individuals.

Some of the other reasons of this mega spend was that the constant stream of general election ads began months earlier than in previous elections.

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