Regular readers of Ad Age Campaign Ad Scorecard—an ongoing project led by Ad Age Datacenter Director of Data Management Kevin Brown in partnership with Kantar/CMAG—know that we’ve been devoting a lot of attention to the presidential race. And we’re going to keep doing that until the (bitter?) end. But in today’s edition of CAS, we’re widening our focus for a moment to offer a bigger picture of political ad spending during the current election cycle by focusing on ballot initiatives. Here’s what you need to know:
• Ad Age Datacenter has tracked $5.4 billion in political ad spending on TV and radio, including advance bookings from now through Election Day, during the 2019-2020 election cycle. (Our tracking started on Jan. 1, 2019.) That includes the presidential race, U.S. Senate and Congressional races, gubernatorial races and ballot initiatives.
• Of that $5.4 billion total, $398 million is going toward ballot initiatives. These can be something of a mystery to residents of certain parts of the country, because only some states allow them—and those that do can use different language and produce different results when citizens vote for them. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a helpful chart titled “Initiative and Referendum States” that clarifies which states allow what.