Competing Democratic and Republican candidates vying for electoral supremacy during today’s mid-term elections have spent a combined $3bn on TV and radio ads, close to double the sum expended on the same contest four years ago.
Figures collated by Advertising Analytics found that increasingly polarised political discourse has fed through into bumper spends with Democrats outgunning their opponents to the tune of $1.5bn (52.3%) versus a Republican war chest of $1.3bn (47.5%). Independent candidates could only muster $5.8m (0.2%) between them.
Not all of that spending has been money well spent however after NBC, Fox News and Facebook refused to host a controversial ‘racist’ advert backed by the Trump campaign which focussed on an illegal immigrant who had killed two police officers.
Sponsored by Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, the 30 second piece spliced footage of a Mexican killer with scenes of South American migrants headed toward the US border.
Addressing questions from reporters regarding the controversy on the campaign trail Trump said: “You're telling me something I don't know about. We have a lot of ads, and they certainly are effective based on the numbers we're seeing.
“A lot of things are offensive. Your questions are offensive.”
Facebook’s conduct has itself been under the spotlight with the repercussions of the ‘fake news’ scandal still resonating from the 2016 presidential election campaign, with the social network blocking 115 accounts on the eve of the election after receiving a tip-off from federal authorities.
The crucial swing state of Florida accounted for the lion’s share of this largesse after hoovering up the largest single share of resources, drawing $181m and $173m respectively for its gubernatorial and Senate races.