With the results from the Iowa Democratic Caucuses finally in, three days after the vote, here’s a campaign media analysis look at how much money the candidates spent in their attempts to secure support and delegates.

Media Trends – The toplines:

  • In the current cycle, the 13 candidates on the ballot (12 Democrats and President Trump), and one pro-Biden group Unite the Country, spent $70 million
  • The money spent by candidates on the 2020 Caucuses doubled the total spent by candidates in 2016 –  in a year when only one party’s nomination is up for grabs

2.6 blog IA Bar chart

 

The details:

Buttigieg, Sanders, and Warren took 26.2%, 26.1%, and 18% respectively, and accounted for a combined 41% of the $70 million spent.

Biden and Klobuchar received 15.8% and 12.3% of the raw vote count respectively, and combined accounted for 19% of the total spend. This sum includes money spent by the candidates themselves and a super PAC supporting Biden, “Unite the Country”.

Steyer, who received only 1% of the raw vote, spent more than both Biden and Klobuchar, accounting for 25% of the total.

The final group of candidates who garnered 1% or less – Yang, Bloomberg, Delaney, Bennet, Patrick, Gabbard – accounted for a combined 15% of total spending. This ranges from Yang’s total of $6.8 million to Bloomberg’s mere $500k.

campaign media - IA donut chart

 

Conclusions:

  • The campaigns that won (Buttigieg and Sanders) ultimately spent more than the campaigns that didn’t (Biden and Warren)
  • Warren spent less than Biden, but beat him by 3 percentage points
  • Steyer spent $18M in the state and received almost no return on that investment
  • Spending spiked in January for all candidates, so even though we cannot claim a one-to-one correlation between spending and winning, there is apparently a clear mentality that victory won’t be achieved without significant investment in airtime

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