Candidates, party committees and outside groups combined could spend as much as $3.2 billion on television advertising in the 2012 election.
That estimate comes from Ken Goldstein, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group, a firm that tracks and analyzes political advertising.
To put those numbers in perspective, about $2.1 billion was spent on television advertising in 2008, up 30% from the previous presidential cycle in 2004. The 2010 midterm saw $2.4 billion in TV ad spending, up 30% from 2006.
Goldstein expects TV ad spending to exceed 2010 levels, but doesn’t see it increasing as drastically as in previous years.
The “$3.1 billion to $3.2 billion is the most that would be spent,” he said, noting it could be as low as $2.5 billion.
Despite the growing popularity of Internet advertising, TV will continue to dominate the political ad market because “it’s still the only way to reach passive voters,” Goldstein said.