US Insights

Roundup: Midterm Advertising Sees Explosive Growth

Ross Tucker

Executive Editor Kantar US Insights

Politics 10.02.2018 / 12:00


Political advertising has already reached a fever pitch a month before the election.

As the country moves into the final month before the midterm elections, political advertising has already reached a fever pitch. Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG) tracks this activity, finding that candidates are focusing their messages around issues such as President Trump, gun control and healthcare. Here is a roundup of recent news items that rely on CMAG insights:

2020 Presidential Bids in Full Swing in Iowa

In an September 17 article, the Des Moines Register found that more than 10,500 ads related to the 2020 campaign for president have aired on broadcast and cable TV across the country. More than half of those have aired in Iowa.

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"Presidential advertising this early in the cycle is unexpected, but I think things are increasingly unpredictable," said Madeline Meininger, a senior analyst with Kantar Media/CMAG. "That being said, if you had expected early presidential activity in 2018 to look like what it did in 2014, you would be shocked by how much we’ve seen this year."

Key Numbers

  • $125 Million Amount Democrats have spent on healthcare-focused ads.

Gun Control

The Wall Street Journal noted in mid September that gun control has emerged as a key midterm issue in many races, with the number of ads addressing the issue skyrocketing.

“Mass shootings, including those in Las Vegas and Parkland, Fla., have thrust the issue of gun control into midterm races that will determine whether Republicans hold control of Congress and maintain dominance in state capitals. Ads promoting stricter gun regulations have aired 102,636 times across the country this year—a 22-fold increase from four years ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data.”

Biggest Spender

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC “exclusively dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives” has been one of the biggest midterm spenders so far according to CNN.

“According to data obtained via Kantar Media/CMAG, the Congressional Leadership Fund has been the second biggest spender on TV advertisements in 2018 through this week, coming in after One Nation, a conservative nonprofit affiliated with the Senate Leadership Fund, the Mitch McConnell super PAC. The Congressional Leadership Fund has aired $25.65 million worth of TV ads so far.”

Healthcare & Trump

Democrats are keying in on an anti-Trump message and focusing on healthcare CNN noted at the end of the month.

“According to Kantar Media/CMAG data, Democratic campaigns and outside groups have spent the most on health care ads -- $62.3 million across all House races -- and the second most on anti-Trump ads, $28.5 million, in 2018.”

When you look at spending across all races for the year from Democrats, spending on healthcare almost doubles.

“Seizing on the political opening, Democrats have spent nearly $125 million on TV ads focused on health care this year, compared to just $50 million in health care-focused ads from Republicans, according to the political ad tracking firm Kantar Media/CMAG,” said CNN in an article on Sept. 26.

Source: Kantar Media

Editor's Notes

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