UPDATE: Gannett challenges SNL Kagan’s estimate that sales of political ads at the company’s TV stations will decline 10.1% vs 2008. Gannett Broadcasting President Dave Lougee recently told analysts that the company expects election-related ads to hit a  “new high” in 2012 following Q3 sales of $42M, +61.5% vs 2008.   

PREVIOUS, 11:53 AM: The situation is kind of like a children’s soccer game where everybody’s a winner — except, perhaps, the viewers in battleground states who’ve been bombarded with campaign related commercials. Local TV stations likely will end up with anywhere from $2.6B to $2.8B in political ads this year, according to two projections today. SNL Kagan has a lower number, which is still a 68% increase vs four years ago. The 10 largest publicly traded broadcast TV affiliate groups should end up with $625.3M, +41.9%. The research firm says that Mitt Romney outspent President Obama in TV and radio ads in swing states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Gray Television will wind up with about $90.5M, up 86.7% vs 2008 followed by Gannett with $84.5M (-10.1%), E.W. Scripps with $79.5M (+93.8%), and Sinclair with $75.0M (+82.5%). 

Wells Fargo Securities’ Marci Ryvicker predicts TV stations will record $2.8B from political ads, which would be 33.4% higher than her figure for 2008. Local broadcasters will account for 54% of all political ad spending — with another $467M going to cable and $104M to the major networks. About 35.3% of the TV station spending through October 21 was for the presidential election with 22.0% for Senate campaigns, 20.4% for ballot measures, 14.3% for House contests, and 4.5% for gubernatorial races.