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Election 2012

Obama Still Outgunning Romney in TV Ads

Romney ads close the gap in October
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President Barack Obama's campaign is still outgunning Mitt Romney's in TV ads, in both volume and in spending, by more than 2 to 1. From April through Oct. 29, the Obama campaign spent $266 million, while the Romney campaign spent $105.4 million, according to an analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data by the Wesleyan Media Project.

However, Obama's edge in ad volume narrows to fewer than 50,000 when factoring in the ads placed by both candidates' support groups.

Team Romney began to close the gap in the third week of October. Between Oct. 22 and 29, pro-Romney ads outnumbered pro-Obama ads in nine of the top 25 media markets, including Tampa, Cincinnati, Columbus, Miami, Toledo, Grand Junction, Co., Dayton, Colorado Springs and Youngstown.

Team Obama has the ad advantage in Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Roanoke, Norfolk, Reno, Milwaukee, Des Moines, Richmond, Davenport, Green Bay, Madison and Cedar Rapids.

Romney's support groups are spending more than the Obama campaign. Between Oct. 22 and 29, Obama spent more than $26 million on more than 40,500 ads. Romney and his team of Restore Our Future and American Crossroads matched the Obama campaign in number of ads aired, but those ads, purchased by PACs willing to shell out higher ad rates, spent more than $35 million.

"The level of support for Governor Romney from outside groups is simply incredible," said Michael Franz, the co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project. "Groups supporting Romney out-advertised the candidate and party committees. That is unprecedented in a presidential election."

Neither has any other election seen as much TV advertising. Since June 1, the presidential candidates and their support teams placed more than one million ads, a 39 percent increase over 2008.