For the first time, Trump outspending Clinton on TV ads

Posted at 3:14 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 15:14:57-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — For the first time in the general election, Donald Trump is set to outspend Hillary Clinton on TV ads this week.

Trump’s campaign is slated to spend $14 million on television ads compared to Clinton’s $10 million, according to data from Kantar Media/CMAG, a company that tracks political advertising.

But when factoring in spending from outside groups like super PACs, Clinton comes out on top. Pro-Clinton forces will spend a total of about $19.7 million on ads this week, including an $8.7 million buy from Priorities USA, the main super PAC supporting her.

Trump’s allies are throwing in only $2.5 million for a total of $16.6 million in pro-Trump ads this week. Most of that comes from a National Rifle Association political group.

Both campaigns are heavily focusing their buys on the hotly contested state of Florida, as well as Pennsylvania, which is currently leaning in Clinton’s direction, as well as the battlegrounds of Ohio and North Carolina.

Trump’s advantage this week is an anomaly. He has been heavily outspent by Clinton since the general election began early this past summer.

Three-quarters of the $342 million so far spent on television ads in the general election comes from Clinton’s campaign, super PAC, and allies, according to a CNN analysis of the Kantar Media data.

Clinton’s campaign itself is responsible for nearly half — 46% — of television advertising spending, or $158 million.

Trump’s campaign, in contrast, is responsible for only 13% of ad spending. His campaign has spent only $44 million and a handful of groups supporting him has spent another $40 million, according to the data.

There are a few reasons for the disparity. While Clinton was running general election ads — seeking to define both herself and her opponent — in June and July, Trump sat on the sidelines. His ad campaign began in mid-August with modest buys in only four states.

When Trump did finally start buying TV ad time, he has typically been outspent by Clinton. The greatest disparity came in mid-September, when Clinton bought $12 million in airtime to Trump’s $622,000.

In addition, the super PACs supporting Trump are significantly less funded and less organized than the groups supporting Clinton. Some deep-pocketed Republican contributors have also steered clear of the presidential race out of discomfort with the nominee.

Not surprisingly, both campaigns have spent more on Florida, the largest up-for-grabs state on the electoral map, than in any other state, according to the Kantar Media/CMAG data.

At about $43 million, Clinton’s spend in Florida is nearly twice what she spent on the next-closest state, Ohio. She has also spent $57 million on national cable, ensuring voters around the country — not just in swing states — see her messages.

Trump has also poured a large portion of his ad budget into Florida, but overall has spent far less than Clinton. His ad spending in the Sunshine State comes to about $12 million.