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Tampa market ranks No. 3 in nation for number of political advertisements

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 07:08 PM
TAMPA -

And you thought the commercials for law firms and male dysfunction products were getting out of hand.

A new report shows the Tampa market has risen to No. 3 in the nation in the volume of presidential political advertisements, up from No. 4 last month and now joined by Orlando in the top 5.

The Wesleyan Media Project, which tracks broadcast advertisements aired in every media market in the country, said 7,992 ads have aired touting President Barack Obama or challenger Mitt Romney from Oct. 1 to Oct. 21 on one of the four local broadcast channels or in national cable buys. Only Denver, where 9,950 such ads aired, and Las Vegas, with 8,057, ranked higher.

"Clearly, both sides are recognizing the importance of Florida and the Tampa and Orlando media markets, where they both perceive there are swing voters," said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan project.

Tampa area residents saw 6,361 ads in a 21-day window in September, Wesleyan reported.

Nationwide, the 2012 election has shattered 2004 and 2008 records for total ads aired, with more than 900,000 airing in the 21-day period.

"When all is said and done, 2012 will go down as a record-pulverizing year for political advertising," said Fowler. "We've already surpassed the total number of presidential ads aired during the entire 2008 campaign, and we still have two weeks to go before Election Day."

What's striking, she said, is that the ads are concentrated in fewer markets — those all-important swing markets in swing states — and "a smaller number of Americans have witnessed the onslaught of messages in the race for the White House."

Some other highlights of Wesleyan's roundup of the October political advertising scene:

Don't expect the ad deluge to let up as Nov. 6 approaches, warned Fowler. "It's no surprise they've been doing this (in Florida) since June, and we expect it to continue through Election Day."


jstockfisch@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7834

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