US election to cost $6bn: Study

2012-11-01 11:39
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Washington - US political campaigns will spend $6bn in federal races this year, making the 2012 general election the most expensive poll in American history, experts said on Wednesday.

The presidential election pitting President Barack Obama against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, alone accounts for $2.6bn, according to the Centre for Responsive Politics, which analyses US electoral expenses.

That's a decrease from the record-breaking 2008 campaign total of $2.8bn, when Obama had to also finance a Democratic primary fight against Hillary Clinton.

The total includes spending by presidential candidates and major party committees - about $2bn - $528m from outside groups that report spending to federal authorities and $142m from party convention host committees and public funding for the national conventions.

Overall, the 2012 election is set to top the last most expensive election - four years ago - by about $700m, due in large part to an unprecedented amount of money of over $970m raised and spent by outside groups following a decisive 2010 Supreme Court decision.

"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," said Centre for Responsive Politics executive director Sheila Krumholz.

Weekly jump in spending

The court ruling allowed these groups to raise unlimited amounts of money from donors, and the organizations have been spending at a rapidly increasing rate.

Spending by such groups for and against Obama and Romney has jumped from $19m per week in early September to $33m per week in early October to $70m during the week beginning 21 October.

Conservative organisations - including non-profit groups and so-called Super PACs political action committees - largely dominate their liberal counterparts.

Crossroads GPS, founded by former president George W Bush's former right-hand man Karl Rove, has spent around $65m to date.

Spending on congressional races in the Senate and House of Representatives was projected to increase slightly to $1.82bn, up from $1.81bn in 2010.

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Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us elections 2012

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