First published March 31, 2004. Ten years later, more than double the amount, nearly one billion dollars, was spent to influence the votes of a smaller and smaller electorate, meaning that probably $100 or more was spent to influence a swing voter in 2014, depending on the state and the election.
Mind-boggling: Republicans and Democrats are spending, combined, $300 million to $400 million, this year to influence and turn out about 10 million targeted “swing voters” in November’s presidential election. These swing voters are supposedly concentrated in 18 key states, according to an article in the Detroit News (link no longer available). That’s $30 to $40 per swing vote, or $3 to $4 for everyone who votes.
Most of the approximately 100 million voters already lean one way or another, based on past voting patterns. The strategy of each campaign is to suppress turn-out among the other side’s base (through negative advertising), and to inspire turn-out and enthusiasm among potential supporters, through positive advertising, and by generating energy, passion and dedication among volunteers on the ground.