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Five Surprising Charts About The 2012 Election

The FEC has released a summary of the money raised and spent in the first 18 months of the election. $4 billion in five graphs.

Posted on September 26, 2012, at 10:13 p.m. ET

The first 18 months of 2004 and 2008 were actually more expensive than 2012


Although 2012 is forecast to be this country's most costly election yet, presidential candidates spent more money through the second quarter in 2008 and 2004 — also an election with a sitting president — than they did in 2012. In total, presidential candidates raised $601.9 million and spent $407.9 million from January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012.

Democratic party committees out-spent Republicans by significant margin


Through the second quarter, the Democratic National Committee spent $178.4 million — nearly $58 million more than the Republican National Committee. In total, national, state and local political party committees reported disbursements of $626.3 million during that 18-month period.

The DNC, DSCC, and DCCC also out-fundraised Republican party counterparts


The Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee raised almost identical amounts in the first 18 months of the election — the DNC out-raised the RNC by just $400,000. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) also out-raised their Republican counterparts.

Congressional candidates raised and spent money at record levels in 2012


With over 1,800 candidates running for the House and Senate this year, congressional candidates raised and spent a record amount of money in the first 18 months of the election. Campaign fundraising for congressional races has doubled over the last ten years — candidates for the House and Senate raised more than $1.2 billion and spent more than $786.8 million.

PACs raised and spent the most money in first 18 months of the election


In the first 18 months of the 2011-2012 election cycle — from Jan. 1, 2011 to Jun. 30, 2012 — a total of $4 billion was raised by presidential and congressional candidates, political parties, and political action committees. Nearly $2.9 billion has been spent. PACs have been the greatest source of income and spending during this campaign.