A new analysis finds former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign outspent President Trump’s campaign on the television airwaves by nearly $25 million over a two-week period from late September to early October, underscoring the Democratic presidential nominee’s spending advantage in the final stretch to Election Day.
The latest data from the Wesleyan Media Project, which is working in conjunction with the Center for Responsive Politics, finds the Biden campaign spent $56 million on 80,000 television ads airing between Sept. 28 and Oct. 11, compared with $32 million on 32,000 ads for the Trump campaign.
The campaigns spent a roughly equal amount on Facebook and Google in recent weeks, though the Trump campaign has outspent the Biden campaign on those platforms by about $50 million since mid-April.
In addition to the campaigns, the pro-Biden group FF PAC spent $18 million on 16,000 anti-Trump ads in that time, while the group backed by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Independence USA PAC, spent $8.7 million on 8,700 ads.
The largest pro-Trump outside group in that time was the Preserve America PAC, which spent $15.7 million on 7,400 ads. America First Action, the largest outside group backing Trump, spent $10.7 million on 8,800 ads.
Combined, the Biden campaign and pro-Biden groups spent $102 million, compared with $61 million for the Trump campaign and pro-Trump groups over the past two weeks. Since April 9, Trump has been outspent $317 million to $252 million on the television airwaves.
“Although the impact of ads in presidential races tends to be fairly small, Biden’s consistent ad advantages of two-to-one or even three-to-one in the battleground states has to account for at least some of his expanding lead in the polls over the past few weeks,” said Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project.
The Biden campaign raised a record $383 million in September and has more than $480 million in the bank for the final weeks before Nov. 3. The Trump campaign has not announced their September haul yet but they were outraised by more than $150 million in August.
Most of the advertising spending for both campaigns has been in Florida, where the expensive media markets in Tampa, Orlando and Miami require huge investments. The next biggest spending markets were in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. In all of the top 25 markets for ad spending, pro-Biden ads outpaced pro-Trump ads.
The Wesleyan data finds that the Trump campaign has scaled back in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin in recent weeks to bolster its ad spending in Georgia.