Nonpartisan Agreement: Most Campaign Money Is Wasted | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Nonpartisan Agreement: Most Campaign Money Is Wasted

Republican and Democratic strategists tell NPR that most of the estimated $4 billion to be spent by the campaigns, political action committees and others on the 2012 presidential race will make no difference in the outcome.

"Eighty percent of what we do in a campaign is wasted," Democratic pollster and adviser Mark Mellman tells NPR's Morning Edition. "The problem is we don't know which 80 percent in advance, so we do it all. That's exactly what these campaigns are doing."

Mark McKinnon, a Republican strategist who advised George W. Bush and John McCain, agreed: "No, you don't need that much money. It's ridiculous. This is so much more money than has ever been spent historically."

McKinnon tells NPR that the amount to be spent on the 2012 race between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney will be "a minimum of $4 billion, when you add up all the PACs and special interest money that's going to be spent on this campaign."

"If you live in a swing state, you're seeing political ads wall to wall now like you used to back in September, October in presidential campaigns past," says McKinnon. "At a certain point, it just becomes completely white noise."

The difficult thing, Mellman says, is determining which ad buys matter, and which ones don't.

"Nobody can sit here today, in what would otherwise be a close race, and say that extra million, $5 million, $10 million, $50 million might not make the difference of a few hundred votes in Florida, a few hundred votes in Ohio or Nevada," says Mellman.

Both McKinnon and Mellman agree that the Romney campaign and all of the affiliated pro-Romney money could exceed the amount raised and spent by Obama and his supporters in the election. Historically, sitting presidents have a big fundraising advantage.

What they're not so sure about: whether it will matter.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

No Small Feat: The NBA's Shortest Player Never Gave Up

At 5 foot 3, Muggsy Bogues holds the record as shortest player in NBA history. Criticism of his height started on the basketball courts of the Baltimore projects, and continued well into his career.
NPR

Tracing A Gin-Soaked Trail In London

Around the world, new gin distilleries are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. NPR traces the boom to its historic roots in London, which once had 250 distilleries within the city limits alone.
NPR

Ranting And Throwing Papers: An Angry Candidate Runs For Congress

State Rep. Mike Bost's rants on the Illinois House floor are the stuff viral dreams are made of. Bost says he has good reason to be upset, and wants voters to share his anger.
NPR

Israel's Solar-Powered 'Trees': For Smartphones And Community

The man-made trees are designed to create a public space where people can gather and re-charge a battery — their own and their smartphone's.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.