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Entries in Campaign Finance Institute (1)

Wednesday
Nov102010

Campaign Spending Scorecard: Record Cash, Little Impact

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite all the attention on record spending by outside groups during the 2010 midterm campaign, a post-election analysis by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute found that the huge sums had little effect on the outcome of the election.

Non-party organizations reported spending more than $280 million, or 130 percent more money, during the 2010 campaign than they did in 2008, according to the Institute. The figure eclipsed spending totals by the national political parties for the first time in recent memory.

However, in the most competitive races across the country, spending by party and non-party groups combined was roughly equal in support of Republican and Democratic candidates, a dynamic that suggests the electoral wave was rolling well ahead of any outside groups' attempts to sway voters' hearts and minds, the Institute said.

"Neither set of expenditures [party or non-party spending] could be said to have tipped the electoral balance," Institute researcher Brendan Glavin wrote in the report.

Republicans captured at least 60 seats from Democrats Nov. 2 to decisively seize majority control of the U.S. House. In the Senate, GOP candidates flipped six seats, although not enough for Republicans to claim a majority.

While the skyrocketing spending by outside non-party groups did favor Republicans overall, according to the Institute, in most races the influence seemed to have been offset by a significant difference in party spending, which favored Democrats.

"These [non-party] organizations that are spending money independently are doing exactly the same thing as parties," said Steve Ansolabehere, a political scientist at Harvard University, of the new dynamic. "When all is said and done after this election, we're going to look at those organizations and they're going to look like parties. It's just going to be another way money is flowing into campaigns."

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