Bush, Kerry ads focusing on different markets

Sen. John Kerry’s spending on spot political ads in his bid for the White House stepped up dramatically in April and May, while President George Bush actually cut back.

According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, Bush spent $12 million on political ads in April but only $8.9 million in May. Conversely, Kerry spent $7 million in April and $14 million in May.

In tracking the White House race, Nielsen confirmed that political ad spending in the presidential race is at an all-time high for this early in the race.

Between January and May, Bush spent a total of $36.4 million on spot ads in 100 TV markets; during the same frame in 2000, he spent only $12.6 million. Kerry spent $29.9 million between January and May in 121 local TV markets; in 2000, Al Gore spent just under $6 million during the same time period.

There also has been a noticeable shift in where the most money is being spent. In the 2000 race, both Bush and Gore focused heavily on California. This go-round, Bush has spent the most money in Philadelphia ($2.7 million).

Each has spent significant amounts in certain markets that the other has ignored. For Kerry that has included Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Fla.; Sioux City, Iowa; Des Moines-Ames, Iowa; Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Iowa; and Charleston-Huntington, W. Va.. President Bush has spent heavily in two markets that Kerry has largely ignored, Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla. and Burlington, Vt.-Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Neither candidate has spent much money in Bush’s home state of Texas, but Kerry has bought nearly $1 million worth of spot ads in his home state of Massachusetts. Bush has only spent $375,000 in that New England state.

Markets including Cleveland, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Phoenix and Seattle have become key battlegrounds for the two candidates, with Bush so far outspending Kerry in each.

Kerry has spent the most money overall in Phoenix ($1.3 million), where Bush’s campaign has forked over $1.7 million for spot ads.

Bush also spent $1.7 million in Minneapolis-St. Paul, while Kerry has spent $1.3 million. Bush has spent over $1.6 million in Detroit, where Kerry has spent $1.2 million.

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