Obama and Romney Collectively Spent $2 Billion this Election Cycle

Daniel Doherty

11/7/2012 12:39:00 AM - Daniel Doherty

As the headline suggests, it’s worth noting that this has been the most expensive presidential election in American history:

Total spending for the 2012 presidential election has blown away previous cycles with so-called super PACs laying down a staggering $629 million.

When combined with Team Obama and Team Romney collectively spending roughly $2 billion, this year's presidential cycle becomes the most expensive in American history.

Still, what remains unclear is the impact so much money has had on this race -- particularly from the loosely, but not officially, affiliated super PACs -- considering residents in Ohio and a handful of other battleground states say they have essentially tuned out after being so inundated with radio, TV and web ads.

"Just the amount of money is beyond the pale," said Ben Tulchin, a San Francisco-based Democratic strategist and pollster. "But you wonder about the law of diminishing returns. Potential voters are bombarded with so many ads that it becomes hard to break through."

But more to the point: How much money did each respective candidate raise -- and spend -- this election cycle? Let’s take a look (via the Washington Times):

President Obama and Mitt Romney raised about $1 billion each and relied on outside groups that spent another billion on the presidential race, mounting a stimulus for political consultants and broadcasters everywhere and obliterating a decades-old system that provided taxpayer funds to candidates in exchange for keeping spending low.

Mr. Obama raised more than $1.1 billion, and Mr. Romney raised $931 million as of the latest disclosures, which mostly cover the period through Oct. 17, with each side incessantly claiming it was being outraised and urgently begging for support, nuclear arms-race style, to remedy the situation.

Mr. Romney had to devote some of his funding to fighting off primary challengers, and, for a campaign that centered on fiscal prudence, his campaign and allies spent remarkably inefficiently on advertising.

In the end, though, each campaign had all the money it could spend or more, and while previous years’ candidates had to make hard choices as cash dwindled about which areas to pull out of, the Romney campaign actually entered additional states because of a different problem: There wasn’t enough airtime left on battleground-state TV stations to satisfy all the political groups that wanted it.

In other words, I don’t think Romney can attribute his loss tonight to a lack of financial resources. He had plenty of money -- as the above article points out. So why, then, did he lose?

Well, my friends, that’s a question Republicans across the country will no doubt be asking themselves for months if not years to come.