Florida’s Political Ads Are Setting A Record

Have you really noticed that Florida’s political advertising is setting a record? Here's an expert from the Sun Sentinel and my thought on it. Numbers prove it: You’re seeing more TV political ads than ever in Florida 

Excerpt: If it seems like the tsunami of political ads leading up to the midterm elections in Florida is worse than ever, you’re right. 

An analysis of TV political ad spending from the Wesleyan Media Project finds a staggering number of ads — costing an enormous amount of money — running in Florida, thanks to the state’s expensive TV media markets and the highly competitive races for governor between Ron DeSantis and Andrew Gillum and U.S. Senate between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott. 

No other state comes close to Florida. 

So far this year, the analysis found $133 million has been spent on TV advertising by candidates for Florida governor, including the primary. The second highest spending in governor’s race TV advertising is Illinois, at $95 million. 

Several of Florida’s TV markets are in the top tier of television advertising for the entire campaign season, from Jan. 1 through Oct. 25. 

-- Orlando, first place, 73,197 ad airings, including the governor’s race, Senate race and U.S. House contests. 

-- Tampa, third place, 68,960. 

-- Miami-Fort Lauderdale, ninth place, 51,203. 

-- West Palm Beach, 11th place, 48,622.

Bottom Line: My initial reaction to the headline of the Sentinel’s story is, No, I’m not seeing more TV ads than ever before. It’s not that I dispute the numbers. I’m sure that’s the case. It’s that I’ve personally never watched less TV than I watch today. What’s more is that the TV that I do watch is mostly on the DVR or streaming meaning that I generally skip through commercials.  

I’m not alone there either. Traditional TV watching peaked over a decade ago and now more than 20% of adults never watch traditional TV, let alone those who barely do, like me. Over the past year alone, traditional TV watching has dropped anywhere from 5.2% to 15.5% based on age, except for adults over 65 where viewership was flat. How does it make sense to set new records for TV advertising, at a time when far fewer Americans are watching traditional TV?  

In hindsight, in last elections, people point to campaign management and strategic decisions that were mistakes. This time around it might be the agencies trusted with placing advertising. 

Photo by: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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