For Immediate Release
November 21, 2000
Steve Rabinowitz, Adam Segal, 202 547–3577
Scott Schell, 212 998–6318
Prof. Ken Goldstein, U. of Wisconsin-Madison,
Monday Morning Quarterbacking in 2 States
In Florida, Massive Spending on TV ads by Bush and Gore Fuels Presidential Contest Measured in Hundreds Votes
In California, $11.5 Million Spending Edge Buys Gov. Bush A 12 Point Popular Vote Defeat, 54–42%
The razor thin vote margin in Florida, measured in hundreds out of some 6 million votes cast, capped a general election presidential campaign in the state that saw $25 million spent on television ads, according to a new Brennan Center Study. The Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee spent $14.6 million on ads in Florida through Election Day, compared to $7.7 million in spending by the Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee – almost a 2 to 1 advantage in the television air wars for Bush.
More than $2 million in spending on ads for Gore by labor unions and independent groups in Florida (compared to $319,000 in group spending for Bush) narrowed the Bush advantage in the state from $14.9 million to $9.7 million, still leaving the Texas Governor with a better than 3 to 2 advantage in television advertising in Florida through Election Day.
Meanwhile, the 2000 presidential election story in California deviated dramatically from Florida’s script of big money fueling a close vote, giving Monday morning quarterbacks plenty of fodder for criticizing the strategic decisions of the Bush camp. The Bush campaign and the RNC dedicated $11.5 million in pursuit of the 54 electoral votes in the nation’s largest state, with independent groups adding another $31,000 in spending on ads for Gov. Bush. Without spending a single dollar on television in California, Vice President Gore carried the state by 12 percentage points, 54 to 42%.
“George W. Bush spent almost as much on the long shot to win California as he did in Florida,” said E. Joshua Rosenkranz, president of the Brennan Center. “Whoever emerges as president, pundits, political scientists, and Monday morning quarterbacks will be asking one question for years to come: Was Bush’s $11 million gambit for California a bold move or an act of sheer lunacy?”
These findings are the latest in an ongoing study of political television advertising by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, conducted in conjunction with political scientist Kenneth Goldstein of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The study is funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. Using data from the Campaign Media Analysis Group (“CMAG”) to monitor political advertising in the nation’s top 75 media markets, reaching over 80 percent of the U.S. population, the Brennan Center and Professor Goldstein are analyzing political advertising in real time for the 2000 campaign. Every political ad aired in these media markets is reviewed, quantified and coded along an extensive array of variables.
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law develops and implements a nonpartisan agenda of scholarship, public education, and legal action that promotes equality and human dignity, while safeguarding fundamental freedoms. For more real time information describing the 2000 presidential and congressional races contact Scott Schell at (212) 998–6318
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