Billionaire Democrats Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer have already spent nearly $200 million on primary ads, Politico reports.
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has spent $120 million in just three weeks since jumping into the race.
“We’ve never seen spending like this in a presidential race,” former Bloomberg consultant Jim McLaughlin told Politico. “He has a limitless budget.”
Bloomberg is buying ads in all 50 states with an eye on the big states that vote on Super Tuesday. He has spent $13 million each on ads in California, Texas, and Florida.
In some markets, like Wilmington, North Carolina, his ads run up to 36 times per day.
“It’s pretty difficult to make a comparison. ... You’re looking at one-third of Obama’s 2012 total [ad] spend through the general [election] in one month,” Advertising Analystics’ Nick Stapleton told the outlet.
Steyer spends big too:
Steyer, at one point the lone Democratic billionaire in the race, has also spent $83 million on ads. The next biggest spender is South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, whose campaign has spent $19 million on ads.
Steyer is focused on early states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, where he has spent nearly $37 million.
“In South Carolina, Steyer has plowed extensive resources into television spots and a flurry of mail while building up a sizable ground game,” Politico reported. “His 60-person team in South Carolina is the largest of his four state operations. He’s beginning to see some results: According to the most recent Quinnipiac University poll, Steyer is now in 5th place there with 5 percent, 1 percentage point behind Buttigieg.”
Billionaires still stuck in single-digits:
While Steyer is inching closer to Buttigieg, both candidates have gotten little traction from their massive spending.
Steyer’s best showing is 5 percent while Bloomberg’s best showing is 7 percent.
“After you see the same TV ad 10 times, it’s not going to have as big an impact,” political marketer Christian Heiens told the outlet. “And that’s not just in politics, that’s in anything in marketing.”
Pollsters are also skeptical about how Bloomberg and Steyer will play in certain key states.
“I don’t sell anybody short, but rich white billionaires don’t have any real appeal to black voters in the South,” said pollster Brad Coker. “Billionaires have never really done well with Southern voters.”