New data shows groups fighting to sink health care reform legislation on Capitol Hill have spent about $5.5 million on television ads in the last 30 days, far outpacing pro-reform groups who have spent about $200,000 in the same time period.
Evan Tracey, president of the Campaign Media Analysis group which tracks ad spending, gave me the totals in an interview this morning as more reports from spending in local Congressional districts pore in to his office.
Campaign Media Analysis estimates that $28 million has been spent on health care television ads since Dec. 15. That figure is about equally split between opponents and proponents of the bills, but the numbers have grown increasingly lopsided in recent days. Tracey said that on Tuesday alone ad spending totaled about $750,000 with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is at the top of the heap, spending about $550,000 per day on ads opposing the bill.“I suspect that by Monday, the entire week will show more than $1 million a day is being spent by those opposed to the bill. You know the dollars against are going to be there against it,” Tracey told me.
The pro-reform groups are just ramping up and haven’t registered any “eye-popping” totals yet, Tracey said. But he believes the numbers “unlikely will get to anything near that.”
Politico reported today that prescription drug industry group PhRMA has agreed to spent $6 million on pro-health care reform ads for the Congressional districts of 38 House Democrats. The ads could begin running as early as today, and come with a White House stamp of approval, Politico reported.
The New York Times reported Monday that new ads “could total $30 million before week’s end” and Time reported that pro-reform groups think they will spend about $12 million this week on television, which would bring them more in line with the anti-reform groups.
Tracey believes the increase in spending on both sides is the “opening salvo of the midterm elections.”
Last week we told you that Tracey’s group predicts spending won’t really let up through the midterm elections, as both sides plan to make health care the central campaign issue.
Immediately after Scott Brown won the Jan. 19 special election in Massachusetts, the ads fell off to “barely” $1 million per week, and the month of February was about $1 million for the entire month.
In the summer, fall and winter of 2009, interest groups on both sides spent more than $1 million per day on television ads, with more than 390,000 ads airing the whole year. Spending totaled $210 million in 2009 through January 2010, Tracey’s group calculates.
And that’s just television. There are dozens of pro- and anti-reform print advertisements running on newspapers, Web ads running on news sites and blogs and radio ads on the airwaves. Not to mention the grassroots work and phone banking efforts.
On the anti-reform side, American Future Fund ran several ads targeting Senators in their home states. They also have ads going after 18 so-called “liberals” for supporting “backroom deals” in the health care bill, using the “lipstick on a pig” analogy. The Committee to Rethink Reform and League of American Voters also are running anti-reform ads.
The National Republican Congressional Committee went with a basketball theme in its anti-health care ad, tied to the upcoming NCAA tournament. They have not disclosed the total buy.
On the pro-reform side, Health Care for America Now has a campaign targeting House Democrats to vote for the bill. AFSCME and Americans United for Change have a campaign suggesting big insurance wants to defeat reform. Those campaigns total $1.9 million, according to the groups.
We’ve collected a sampling of the television ads on our Countdown to Reform wire in recent days, and also have them for you below.
Here’s the American Future Fund ad targeting Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). There also is an ad going after Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA).
Here’s the American Future Fund ad targeting Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV):
Here’s The Committee to Rethink Reform’s TV spot:
Here’s the League of American Voters ad going after Rep. Steve Kagan (D-WI):
Here’s the Americans United for Change/AFSCME ad:
Here’s the HCAN ad:
Here’s the NRCC ad:
Additional reporting by Lucy Madison