TV Ad Spending Picks Up in 2016 Race

Image: Top-Polling GOP Candidates Participate In First Republican Presidential Debate
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 06: A television camera with teleprompter is prepared ahead of the first prime-time presidential debate hosted by FOX News and Facebook at the Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The top-ten GOP candidates were selected to participate in the debate based on their rank in an average of the five most recent national political polls. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

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By Mark Murray

With the Super PACs supporting Jeb Bush and Scott Walker now beginning to advertise, the TV ad spending in the 2016 race is picking up – with nearly $3.3 million being spent this week alone on the airwaves, according to data from NBC ad-tracking partner SMG Delta.

Strikingly, 81% of that nearly $3.3 million is coming from Super PACs or outside groups ($2.6 million), versus 19% from the campaigns ($632,000)

To date, nearly $20 million overall has been spent in TV ads in the 2016 race – compared with $2.1 million at this same point in the 2012 contest.

Caveat: Given that Super PACs and outside groups pay more for TV ads than campaigns do, money isn’t a perfect measure of all of the TV activity. But it gives you a good idea of who is on the air – and who isn’t.

TV ad spending this week (Sept. 15 through Sept. 21)

Team Bush: $1.1 million

  • Bush campaign: $152,000 in NH
  • Right to Rise Super PAC: $978,000 in IA and NH

Team Walker: $580,000 in IA (all from Unintimidated Super PAC)

Team Clinton: $447,000 in IA and NH (all from campaign)

Team Christie: $391,000 in New Hampshire (all from America Leads Super PAC)

Team Graham: $247,000 in NH (all from Security is Strength)

Team Jindal: $268,000 in IA (all from Believe Again Super PAC)

Team Kasich: $173,000 in NH (all from New Day Independent Media Committee)

Team Paul: $38,000 in IA/NV/SC (all from America’s Liberty Super PAC)

Team Cruz: $33,000 in IA/NH/SC/NV (all from campaign)