According to Broadcasting & Cable’s Multichannel News, the 2006 political advertising market is overheating even without a presidential race. Candidates and issue-oriented groups have spent $440 million on advertising through early June. That’s $110 million more than political advertisers spent in 2004 through the same date. Overall, U.S. political ad spending is projected to top $1 billion overall, most of it flowing over broadcast and cable TV outlets, according to new estimates from TNS Media Intelligence’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, a leading political ad-tracking firm. Driving the largesse: 36 races for state governor. Spending associated with gubernatorial campaigns will be double the amount spent by the Bush and Kerry presidential campaigns in 2004. In California, more than $60 million already has been spent on the Democratic Primary contest for the governor’s race. Television will account for close to 85% of all political spending. Issue-centered advertising is on the rise, with $195 million of the $440 million spent through early June flowing from groups attempting to influence voter attitudes on ballot initiatives and legislation in general. Spot cable should get a strong share of spending from U.S. House and Senate races believed to be “in play” by Democratic party leaders intent on winning back majorities. But sellers will have to be patient: For these races, more than 90% of the dollars will flow over the final 60 days of campaigning.
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