Spending Costs: How Much Do Elections Really Cost?

CreditcardEvery holiday season seems to outweigh the next in spending. According to Forbes magazine, the average person spends around $781 on Christmas gifts each year. Out of this, 61% of people use debit cards and 46% use credit cards. The Washington Post reports that Americans spend nearly $20.5 billion on video games and $78 billion on lottery tickets.

While examining the spending habits of Americans, I thought it would be interesting to compare the money spent comparing the midterm elections in 2010 with the most recent elections of 2014.

The ruling in January of 2010 in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruled that political spending was a form of free speech protected under the 1st Amendment. Therefore, while corporations and unions were not allowed to give directly to candidates, they could spend money through ads and other means to persuade voters. The spending amounts have been increasing every election cycle since the Supreme Court decision.

U.S. News reports that candidates, outside spending groups, and political parties spent over $4 billion dollars during the midterm elections of 2010. Nonprofit organizations were some of the biggest spenders as they do not have to disclose information about their donors.

Comparing the election of 2014 with 2010, the Washington Post reports that $3.7 billion was spent in the 2014 midterm elections.

The Brookings Institute carried out a survey which reports the most expensive races of the 2010 and 2014 races along with how much was spent per voter. The results for the 2010 election: Florida came out on top, spending $84, 300, 000. As per voter, Nevada spent the most at $43.65 per voter. The results for the 2014 election: Virginia was the most expensive race totaling $87, 900, 000. The most expensive race per voter was Montana at $66.50 per voter.

Furthermore, although the total amount spent in the 2010 election was more than the 2014 election, the cost per election race and voter was more expensive.

What does this mean for 2015 and beyond?

2016 could possibly be the most expensive election cycle. The collection of the correct data and the use of technology to better reach votersĀ could result in a very interesting election cycle come January. We will have to wait and see!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from your friends at Raise the Money!