Borrell Reboots Political Spending Forecast Upward

Based on January’s Supreme Court ruling, Borrell Associates has added more than $400 million to its political advertising forecast, putting the new total for 2010 at $4.2 billion this year. According to Borrell’s report released Friday (Feb. 5), patterns of political spending have changed from previous years, when spending was defined by on and off years, creating a new phenomenon Borrell termed “the endless campaign.”

“Midterm election–year spending now rivals presidential year budgets,” the Borrell report said. “If current trends hold, 2010 spending will surpass that of 2008.”

Contributing to the endless campaign is the trend towards advertising centered on issues instead of candidates. Of the $4.2 billion total, nearly three-fourths of spending will be local, issue-based advertising.

TV broadcasters will continue to be the big beneficiaries of the windfall, garnering more than $2.6 billion, or 63.2 percent of the total. Cable is expected to get about $383 million, or 9.1 percent, slightly more than radio’s $378 million representing about 9 percent of the total.

Newspapers are forecast to bring in 7.8 percent of dollars or $329 million. And although the Internet played an important role in the presidential election, budgets for the medium will grow 73 percent over 2008, but remain small at $44.5 million, or 1.1 percent of the total.

In markets where there are both state and local elections, more than two-thirds of spending will be done after August, leading up to feverish political spending from September to Election Day Nov. 2.

Hot states for the year include Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Missouri.

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