Part One: What Online Video Ad Spend Can Tell Us About The 2012 Election

We are now a little more than 60 days out to the 2012 election, and according to, Republicans and Democrats are spending 8X more on digital advertising than they did in 2008. It made us curious – what can video ad spending tell us about the prospects of the election? We took a dive into where the action is – the swing states – to bring you this four part series.

At this stage of the game, it is still very much an open race. But trends in political video ad spending tell us something about each campaign’s strategy.


  • Despite a strong lead in the polls, Dems appear to be looking to shore up Pennsylvania. Right now, they lead by at least six points in the latest RealClearPolitics poll but they are spending far more of their budget there than the GOP.

  • Florida is definitely the hottest battleground in online video ad spend. Each of the parties is spending the largest portion of their budget with a very small gap in spend.  Similar to Florida, the tight spread in VA and OH mirrors the spending gap.
  • The GOP doesn’t seem to be worried about NC…yet – Despite Charlotte being the seat of the Democratic convention, the GOP is being outspent by the Dems by the second largest margin in this data set.
  • Nevada is the in the cross-hairs for the GOP -  Despite the second largest gap in polling in the swing states in this data set, it represents the state where GOP appears to be most out-spending Dems as a factor of overall budget.
  • The GOP wants New Hampshire – badly – The second-largest spending gap relative to the proportion of total budget spent is the GOP is NH.  Clearly, the GOP believes that, as a neighboring market to the republican nominee’s home state, the disproportionate spend can overcome the third-largest polling disadvantage they have in the swing states
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