One thing is certain: Running for office is never cheap. Even if you plan to be mayor of a small town, chances are you’re going to spend a few thousand dollars seeking public office before the race is up. Multiply this by several factors when you’re talking about running for president.
The expenses begin during the primary season. The grueling primaries start earlier and earlier every year, which means more and more cash is required to compete. Further, the name of the game is increasingly the “air war” (advertising, also known as “wholesale politics”) as opposed to the “ground war” (door-to-door politicking also known as “retail politics”).
Here’s how much candidates are spending this year in the hopes of becoming the 2012 President-elect.
Share this infographic on your blog or website and tell us your thoughts. Just copy and paste this code snippet:
Barack Obama spent $750 million to become president. Many experts believe he will spend a billion once the 2012 campaign is over, though his aides dispute this: A great deal of that money in 2008 was spent defeating Hilary Clinton during an extended primary season, something that the President is not facing this year. Some hard figures:
- Barack Obama raised $745 million and spent $730 million to become president.
- Compare this to John McCain who spent about half as much to lose: $333 million spent, $368 million raised.
- Third party candidates spent a fraction of this: Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin ran his campaign on $208,000 spent out of $258,000 earned, with Green Party Catherine McKinney running hers on $145,000 spent out of $199,000 raised. Libertarian Bob Barr raised and spent $1 million while independent Ralph Nader raised and spent $4 million.
- For 2012, Barack Obama is far out ahead in fundraising: Over $136.8 million raised. Mitt Romney has raised over $62.7 million, Rick Perry about $20 million, Ron Paul at $30.8 million, Jon Huntsman $6.3 million, New Gingrich $18 million, Rick Santorum $6.6 million.
- Presidential spending is increasing at logarithmic rates. Total spending in 2008 clocked in at $1.7 billion, compared to $880 million in 2004, $528 million in 2000, $425 million in 1996, $331 million in 1992, $324 million in 1988, $202 in 1984 and $161 in 1980.
- 70 percent of Americans think there’s too much money in presidential campaigns, compared to 26 percent who don’t think there’s too much and 4 percent who just don’t know.
- 57 percent of Americans think that politicians should be limited in what they can spend, while 38 percent believe that candidates can spend whatever is raised.
- In nearly every modern election, the candidate with the most money wins both his or her respective primary, as well as the general election.
- Voter turnout remains low: Just over 50 percent in 2000, 55.4 percent in 2004 and 56.9 percent in 2008. While there are gains, they are minor and the United States has some of the lowest voter turnout rates in the democratic, industrialized world.
- The average cost of producing a 30-second television add is $300,000 and that doesn’t even include the cost of airing it, which varies greatly depending on the media market, station and time slot the ad airs on.