In the month leading up to the Iowa caucuses, spending by candidates and the Super PACs supporting them flooded into the state. A large portion was dumped on the Iowa airwaves, where TV-watchers took in dozens of ads each day. But the pay-off was better for some candidates than others.
The first chart is the total amount of money spent, both by candidates and the independent groups supporting them, on TV ads. The second chart is the return on this investment — in effect, how much money each vote cost.
Total Amount Spent By Or In Support Of Each Candidate
As you can see, for all the pre-election (and, indeed, post-election) talk of Romney flooding the airwaves, the biggest spender was Perry, who lavished $2.8 million on the effort compared to Romney’s $2.3 million. But as evidenced below, the carpet-bombing of Iowa television with roundly-mocked ads like this one didn’t really help the Texas governor.
As you can see, Rick Perry got little bang for his buck, with each of his 12,604 votes in effect costing $218.65.
Mitt Romney, by contrast, got his 30,015 votes at what is comparatively a bargain price: $75.44 each. Of course, critics have been quick to point out that he spent this to remain pretty much even with his 2008 tally.
Michele Bachmann may have dropped out after her sixth place showing, but at least she only spent $9.87 for each of her 6,073 votes.
In some respects, perhaps Jon Huntsman was the most effective spender: he put no money down on TV ads in the Hawkeye State, but still got 745 votes.
(Numbers via Bloomberg)
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.