1:13pm

Wed September 19, 2012
Politics

Colorado Airwaves Swimming in Political Ads, Study Finds

A new analysis of political ad spending in the Denver television market finds campaigns and superPACs combined will spend nearly $20 million between August 2nd and the election.

Students in CU News Corps at the University of Colorado conducted the analysis in conjunction with the I-News Network. It found 21 groups are behind 18,956 ads and that's only for the four largest Denver stations, KCNC, KDVR, KMGH and KUSA.

CU Journalism instructor Sandra Fish, who's overseeing the project,  says it would take nearly a full week to watch all those ads if they were aired end-to-end.

She says it's not clear just how much impact that much spending will actually have on the race:

"There doesn’t seem to be a large number of people to be swayed at this point. The race is clearly close, but people seem to have made up their minds. So it’s interesting that so much is being spent on these ads."

The largest spender so far is Obama for America, at $4.6 million, compared with $1.4 million by the Romney/Ryan campaign. Fish told the It's All Politics blog this could signal a shift in the state.

"Certainly when Obama comes here, he makes it very clear that he wants to win this state and that if he wins Colorado, he'll win the election."

Colorado is seen as a key battleground state this year, which means even more ads are likely in the remaining weeks before the November 6th election. The Obama campaign has already purchased ad time through Election Day, and the Romney campaign will likely follow suit.

Both the Democratic and Republican Congressional Campaign Committees have bought or reserved roughly $2 million in ad purchases targeting Colorado U.S. House races.

The analysis covers only advertising contracts bought after a Federal Communications Commission deadline requiring them to be posted online. Fish says the actual number of political ads blanketing Colorado airwaves since late Spring could be closer to 55,000, according to a private tracking firm.