Political News

Democrats still dominating the midterm airwaves

Posted October 17, 2018 5:06 p.m. EDT

— As of Monday, Democrats and their allies are still dominating most of the campaign airwaves in key House races across the country.

Newly released television ad data shows just how large the disparity is in certain places, as both sides muster their resources in the final weeks. The ad records, from Kantar Media/CMAG, covers all TV ads aired the week of October 9-15.

When it came to the 61 most competitive midterm races -- designated by CNN as Tossup, Lean Republican or Lean Democratic -- the Democratic ad dominance was pronounced.

Overall, Democrats were on the air in every such district during the week, and in most cases more active.

Republicans and their allies sat out nine of the races, with no on-air presence at all, though they ran ads in the rest, and in several districts they ran more ads than Democrats.

If we examine these most competitive districts and look at where both parties actively aired ads against each other during the week, there were 52 such races. Democrats ran more ads in 43 of them.

Where each party most active

In terms of where each party and the super PACs supporting them were most prolific on the air during the newly released October week, Democrats by far most heavily targeted New Mexico's 2nd District, which CNN rates as "Lean Republican," and where their candidate Xochitl Torres Small is taking on Republican state representative Yvette Herrell. Democrats ran about 2,300 ads over the course of the week.

Close on its heels for Democratic activity were the New York 22nd and Maine 2nd, both of which are rated as Toss Ups and where about 1,800 ads aired in each.

For Republicans, those two districts -- NY-22 and ME-02 -- were also among their most active. The party and its allies ran about 2,000 ads over the course of the week in the Maine 2nd, it's most active race during the week.

Ranking second in activity for Republicans was the Minnesota 8th, another Tossup.

In NY-22, both parties and affiliated Super PACs unleashed a torrent of ads -- Republican groups such as the Congressional Leadership Fund and National Republican Congressional Committee faced off against Democratic-funded End Citizens United and House Majority PAC.

One NRCC attack ad accuses Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who is challenging Republican Rep. Claudia Tinney, of wanting to slash Medicare by $800 billion aired nearly 500 times during the week, in heavy rotation during daytime TV -- making it the most active ad during that period in the race.

Nationally, as the midterm election rounds the bend toward Election Day, it's been quite a year for campaign ads.

In both House and Senate races since Jan. 1, there have been nearly 893,000 Democratic political ads that ran on television, and just over 680,000 Republican ones.