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Election Ads Boom in 2012, but the Online Shift Still Isn’t Happening

November 6, 2012
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The Obama and Romney campaigns spent a combined $1 billion on advertising. Widen the scope to include congressional campaigns and other election-season spending and the total outlay ends up closer to $6 billion, by some estimates. More than a million television ads have been aired this election cycle.

As notable as the boom in TV ads is the lack of a corresponding boom online, where onlookers have been predicting big shifts in campaign spending since at least the 2004 cycle. But in 2012, like 2008, television remained king. The great digital migration just isn’t happening.

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For decades, direct mail has been the workhorse of grassroots political fundraising. And judging by what's appeared so far in this election cycle, it's not going to be put out to pasture any time soon. Surveys, membership cards, photos and letters from rockstar politicians have dominated the 2012 mailstream because they all still work well. But new to the mix this time around are posters and palm cards, tactics adapted from the world of door-to-door campaigning. Let's take a look at how each one has been used by the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns to augment their fundraising efforts.
 

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