Political ad spending projected to break record ahead of 2020 election

Political ad spending ahead of the 2020 presidential election is expected to surpass $2.7 billion – the new record – as the 20-plus Democratic primary candidates battle to replace President Trump in the White House.

According to data published by Advertising Analytics, about two-thirds of the presidential ad spending will come from Trump and the Democratic nominee during the general election, while the remaining one-third, or roughly $917 million, will be spent during the primary. That’s a 71 percent increased compared to the 2016 presidential primary.

A large chunk of that spending, about three-fourths, will be concentrated in the first quarter of 2020, with candidates pouring money into ads in the first two primary states: Iowa and New Hampshire. In total, about $160 million is expected to be spent in these two states in the third and fourth quarters.

Candidates may also spend big in California, pouring about $123 million into the state now that it’s moved its primary date to Super Tuesday -- a date generally in February or March when a number of states hold their primaries.

Spending will be propelled even higher during the general election, once the Democratic nominee is selected. In large part, that’s thanks to an excited Democratic electorate that’s already donating significant sums in hopes of replacing Trump, as well as a GOP establishment eager to see Trump return to the White House for another four years.

Ad spending in Wisconsin and Michigan -- swing states that Democrats are eager to re-claim as blue -- could reach as high as $60 million each. Other states that tend to oscillate between voting for Republicans and Democrats, namely Pennsylvania and Florida, could each see more than $250 million in spending, as Trump tries to hang on to his two biggest swing states.


Interestingly, spending is expected to fall in Ohio, which is traditionally viewed as a swing state but has continuously drifted toward the right in recent elections.