The 2006 judicial election cycle saw an explosion of money and special interest influence. Television ads appeared in 10 of the 11 states that had supreme court races, with seven states running ads during the primary election. More than $16 million was spent on television ads throughout the entire election cycle. Many ads were negative in tone, with the candidates themselves sponsoring 60 percent of all negative advertisements; this is up from 10 percent of attack ads that candidates sponsored in 2002. Special interest groups spent at least $8.5 million on independent expenditures to support or oppose their candidates, with $2.7 million spent in Washington state alone. 85 percent of all special interest television advertisements were sponsored by groups on the political right. In the 2006 cycle, the candidate with the most on-air support won their race 67 percent of the time; this is down from 85 percent in 2004.
Our 2006 reporting continues the groundbreaking analysis first conducted in 2000 examining the sponsorship, content, and costs of televised state supreme court campaign ads. Analyses of advertising over these election cycles has culminated in three reports: The New Politics of Judicial Elections, The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2002, and The New Politics of Judicial Elections 2004.
Real Time Analysis
Throughout the election season the Brennan Center issued a series of analyses focused on judicial election spending
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.