Since Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race a month and a half ago, Joe Biden has been the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. From then until now Biden has spent about $8 million on ads, almost exclusively digital.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign is burying Biden not only online, but over the airwaves as well. Trump’s reelection campaign and the allied Make America Great Again Committee have spent nearly $21 million on ads — a three to one advantage that isn’t going to be narrowing any time soon.
Those are the numbers according to Advertising Analytics.
In the midst of this pandemic, one thing we can count on is political advertising. This week we saw ~$5M spent on the race for president.
— Advertising Analytics (@Ad_Analytics) May 22, 2020
The competing messages are all about the response to the coronavirus. Biden says Trump blew it while Trump says he didn’t.
“When coronavirus came, Trump froze like a deer in the headlights,” the narrator in the ad says.
While Biden’s been absent from the airwaves the past two months, the Trump campaign’s spent nearly $10 million the past couple of weeks to run TV commercials.
And to the contrary of the Biden campaign’s message, their first big ad blitz touts the job the president is doing to combat the pandemic.
The campaign’s commercial, released early this month, includes a clip of Trump declaring during his State of the Union Address in early February that “my administration will take all necessary steps to safeguard our citizens from this threat.” And the ad uses clips from two top Democratic governors – Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California – complimenting the president.
The voters will determine who’s right. But one thing at this point is clear; Trump will have enormous financial advantages over Biden that could bury Biden’s message under a torrent of pro-Trump propaganda.
The disparity between the two campaigns on TV ad spending comes as the Trump campaign – as of May 1 – had a massive cash-on-hand advantage over the Biden campaign.
While the Biden campaign’s yet to run commercials on TV during the general election, two major pro-Biden super PACs have been airing spots in support of the former vice president. The president has also enjoyed support on TV from the leading pro-Trump super PAC
Looking ahead, Advertising Analytics has upped from $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion its estimate of how much will be spent on ads in the presidential general election.
At the beginning of May, the Trump campaign had $255 million in cash on hand to Biden’s $57 million.
This is already the most expensive presidential campaign in history. According to Forbes, with four months to go before the election, the campaigns have spent $2.38 billion. The price tag for the entire 2016 campaign was $2.21 billion. Clearly, money can’t buy the presidency. Hillary Clinton outspent Trump by $1.191 billion to $646.1 million in 2016.
But it sure doesn’t hurt.