The USA's continuing economic struggles certainly haven't had a negative impact on campaign spending—which could hit nearly $6 billion this year. A non-partisan group estimates that the total spent on presidential and congressional races will hit $5.8 billion, a record number that would top 2008's $5.4 billion by 7%. Of that, the presidential race is expected to cost $2.5 billion, USA Today reports; more than $1 billion has already been spent in that battle.
"The real difference this cycle is how great a portion of that money will come from purportedly independent, often secretive groups," says the Center for Responsive Politics' executive director. (Read more campaign finance stories.)