If anything, 2008 will be a good year to own a TV station in a swing state.

Total ad spending on next year’s election could reach $3 billion, almost double the figure from 2004. That’s according to research firm TNS Media Intelligence Group/Campaign Media Analysis Group. Of that, more than $800 million will be spent on ads in the battle for the presidency.

Mitt Romney leads all of the candidates in TV advertising, have aired commercials more than 11,000 times this year at a cost of nearly $8.6 million, a record for this point in the election cycle. On the Democratic side, Barack Obama leads in ad spending, with some $2.3 million.

Of course, Romney trails Rudy Giuliani in many polls and Obama is behind Hillary Clinton in nationwide surveys. Giuliani has so far spent nothing on TV ads, and Clinton has spent $1.3 million.

Also on the rise are issue-oriented ads from various advocacy groups, which are expected to spend at record levels when all is said and done.

The result could easily be voter burnout.

“Chances are, just as what happened in 2006, voters will be numb after watching hundred and hundreds of ads,” Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report, told CNN. “The sheer number of ads probably dilutes their importance. After a while, the ads just become lots of chatter and an ad will have to be really good to cut through the noise.” 

Meanwhile, according to the Nielson Co., HillaryClinton.com and Barackobama.com were neck and neck in August in website visits. Clinton posted 759,000 unique visitors, which Obama had 749,000.