US 2012 polls most expensive, to cost $6 bn

Notwithstanding a weak economy, the 2012 general elections will be the most expensive in US history, costing a whopping USD 6 billion, with the presidential race alone accounting for $ 2.6 billion.

With an estimated expenditure of $ 6 billion, the 2012 general election is set to beat the cost of the 2008 polls by about $700 million, a non-profit think-tank has said in a report.

“In the new campaign finance landscape post-Citizens United, we’re seeing historic spending levels spurred by outside groups dominated by a small number of individuals and organisations making exceptional contributions,” Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said.

Not only is the total cost of the election record-breaking, but the rate at which spending has increased — and continues to increase — in the closing weeks of the election as well, the report said.

In particular, outside groups are spending furiously.  Spending by these groups, for and against the two main presidential candidates, has grown from $19 million per week in early September to 33 million per week in early October, to $70 million during the week beginning October 21.

The November 6 presidential election, between President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney, which alone accounts for $2.6 billion, is actually a decrease from 2008, when nearly $2.8 billion was directed at the presidential race, the report said.

In 2012, presidential candidates along with major party committees are expected to spend about $ 2 billion. Outside organisations that report spending to the Federal Election Commission are predicted to spend more than $ 528 million to influence the presidential race.

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