While media spending is often cited as the driver of record-breaking campaign expenditures, it continues to trail far behind the price of what Opensecrets.org described as "a bit like running a medium-sized business for two years."
According to the campaign watchdog Web site's latest handicapping of 2008 presidential-campaign expenditures, media spending for all candidates totals $37,840,943, according to Federal Election Commission data released Wednesday.
That represents only about 14% of the total expenditures. Dwarfing all other categories are administrative costs for running those campaigns ($140,229,701), followed by "campaign expenses" ($50,367,180).
But what media money is spent continues to go primarily to local broadcast TV, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. "Even in a media universe being transformed by new online outlets, local broadcast television -- a staple of old media -- will capture most of the ad dollars." PEJ said, citing Veronis Suhler figures for 2006 that showed local broadcast TV with a whopping 72% of the total media expenditures, although that was down from 78% two years before.
"When it comes to political advertising, no other media platform has challenged television’s dominance as a vehicle for political ads," PEJ concluded.