Analyst Sees 2012 Political Ad Spending Handily Exceeding 2008 Levels

NEW YORK - A Wall Street analyst on Tuesday projected higher political advertising spending during next year's election campaign than during the last presidential election cycle.

"Against the backdrop for likely keen national elections at the presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial and house levels (and other state and local contests), we see robust 2012 political ad spending across all media, meaningfully topping projected $2.6 billion-$2.8 billion for the record-setting 2007-2008 campaign cycle," said S&P Capital IQ analyst Tuna Amobi in an investor note.

He sees local TV and digital ad spending as main beneficiaries next year.

"Beyond heated Republican debates, other factors we see in play for the presidential contest include new battleground states, earlier-than-usual primaries, accommodative absentee ballots  and the 2010 Supreme Court campaign finance ruling," Amobi wrote.

The Supreme Court ruling had loosened rules for political ad spending by businesses, unions and nonprofits from some of 2002's McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, which had limited spending by those groups to within 30 days of a primary and 60 days of a general election.

Earlier this year, Moody's predicted a record-setting political ad spending pace for broadcasters next year. The report from the credit ratings agency, entitled "U.S. Broadcasters Get Ready for Record-Breaking Political Ad Spending in 2012," predicted that political ad revenue would grow 9 percent-18 percent over 2010 levels in a base case scenario for pure-play broadcast firms.

2010 had set a record of an estimated $2.3 billion in political broadcast TV ad spending.


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