2002 saw an increase in special interest spending on television advertisements, with these groups running election ads in twice as many states as 2000. In 9 out of 11 races where television ads ran, the candidate with the most combined spending on TV ads – including ads funded by the candidate and those run by outside groups – won the election. Ten interest groups ran ads in the 2002 election, compared to five groups in 2000. In two states – Idaho and Washington – only outside groups ran ads. In Ohio, a pair of special interest groups each spent more on airtime than 85 of the 88 supreme court candidates who ran for office across America this year. Special interest groups in Michigan and Mississippi outspent all of the candidates in their states combined. The majority of ads aired by both candidates and outside groups invoked hot button issues like crime, health care, tort liability, and special interest influence. Special interest groups themselves, however, cut back on the use of negative attack ads, for which they received fierce backlash in 2000.
Our 2006 reporting continues the groundbreaking analysis first conducted in 2000 examining the sponsorship, content, and costs of televised state supreme court campaign ads. The 2000 analysis can be found here: The New Politics of Judicial Elections.
Real Time Analysis
Throughout the election season the Brennan Center issued a series of analyses focused on judicial election spending
- October 31, 2002: “One Hundred Percent Increase in Number of States with TV Ads in State Supreme Court Races”
- October 23, 2002: “Fifty Percent Increase in Number of States with TV Ads in State Supreme Court Races”
- October 17, 2002: “Buying Time 2002: Television Advertising in State Supreme Court Elections”
All data on ad airings and spending on ads are calculated and prepared by Kantar Media/CMAG, which captures satellite data in the nation’s largest media markets. CMAG’s estimates do not reflect ad agency commissions or the costs of producing advertisements, nor do they reflect the cost of ad buys on local cable channels. Cost estimates are revised by Kantar Media/CMAG when it receives updated data, resulting in some fluctuations in the reported ad spending.