Heard on NPR this morning that a new Center for Responsive Politics report pegs the spending on political advertising this election year at $6 billion. Even when you add up all the television and radio spots, newspaper ads, billboards, web ads, buttons, t-shirts and bumper stickers, that’s a lot of dough. This is, according to CRP, the most ever spent on an American election.
Ignoring the obvious fallacy that American consumers don’t purchase political campaign ads in the same way they buy a bag of Ruffles, we’ve always been fascinated by Will’s trotting out the comparison every election cycle. This year, while we couldn’t quite locate the latest domestic sales figures for just potato chips, we were able to find some other fascinating U.S. stats. Here’s how that $6 billion in political advertising for 2012 figure stacks up against other products Americans are buying:
• $98.94 billion on beer (2011)
• $34 billion on chips and pretzels (2012)
• $27.2 billion on books (2011)
• $19.5 billion on chocolate (2011)
• $16.3 billion on video games (2011)
• $10.2 billion on movie tickets (2011–U.S./Canada)
• $4.52 billion on coffee (2011)
• $1.7 billion on medical marijuana (2011)
So there you go. In terms of sales, political spending is way more important than coffee and medicinal pot to Americans, but no where near as important as books, chocolate, salty snack foods and, of course, beer.
Photo of Herbert Hoover campaign ad: National Archives/Wikimedia Commons