Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s impossible to turn on the local stations in Florida and not see a political ad on the air. If it seems like this year is worse than most, it’s because it is with the election just five days away.
According to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald, political advertising is expected to shatter previous records with $133 million already spent on ads in the state since April. Nationally, 915,000 presidential ads have been aired on broadcast and cable television, according to the Wesleyan Media Project.
According to the Herald, in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, 18,299 political ads have been aired since April at a cost to the campaigns of $26 million. Political advertising in Florida has been heaviest in the I-4 corridor as more than 71,000 ads have been aired at a cost of $72 million!
Much of the money for the political advertising has come from outside groups and Super PACS that have favored Republican causes. However, President Barack Obama has been able to keep up with the advertising spending of the outside groups thanks to campaign finance laws.
President Obama’s campaign, or any political campaign, is guaranteed to pay the lowest rate charged by local stations for advertising. Outside groups and Super PACS aren’t afforded the same luxury and pay higher rates.
In addition, according to the Herald, federal law requires television stations pre-empt any other advertisers, including third-party groups.
So, while spending less, Obama’s direct campaign has been able to air more ads to try to keep up with the outside money coming into the campaign. But as the race comes down to the wire, most of the spending will be in Central Florida.
Both campaigns want to win the area that is essentially the moderate area of the state between the ultra conservative northern part of Florida and the more liberal South Florida.
Florida’s 29 electoral votes and the tie in the polls can be thanked for all the political spending by both President Obama and Mitt Romney. But, there is a silver lining for viewers, but not broadcasters: on November 7, the political ads will cease.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)