The Wisconsin Advertising Project–an entity tracking political advertising on television–is reporting a continued trend in advertising spending by the two major party political campaigns as well as a trend towards airing more negative ads. According to the organization’s most recent review, the two campaigns spent $28 million on political ads from September 28 to October 4, with over half of the money used for ads in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. During the same week in 2004, the two major party campaigns spent only $18 million on ads.
Beyond the spending, the review also shows that the campaign has made a marked turn towards negative advertising. During the week, McCain’s campaign ads were almost 100% negative while 34% of Obama’s ads were negative. The organization reports that so far in this campaign, 73% of McCain’s ads have been negative and 61% of Obama’s ads have been negative. As a comparison, in 2004 61% of Bush’s and 34% of Kerry’s ads were negative.