80% of Campaign Money Wasted: Strategists

'The problem is, we don't know which 80%'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 16, 2012 10:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are raising unprecedented amounts of money for their presidential campaigns, and most of it won't matter at all, a pair of strategists tell NPR. "You don't need that much money. It's ridiculous," says Republican strategist Mark McKinnon. "I was the guy in charge of advertising in the 2002 and 2004 campaigns, and I can tell you that 75% of that money was completely wasted."

Democratic pollster Mark Mellman thinks the number is even higher. "Eighty percent of what we do in a campaign is wasted," he says. "The problem is we don't know which 80% in advance, so we do it all." Voters, they explain, are inundated with ads, and are pretty cynical about them to begin with. "At a certain point, it just becomes completely white noise," McKinnon says. But at the same time, both agreed that some advertising does land, meaning a fundraising advantage could still swing the race.

This is what happens to a vast majority of campaign spending, about 75% to 80%, according to two strategists.
This is what happens to a vast majority of campaign spending, about 75% to 80%, according to two strategists.   (Shutterstock)
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