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PA & Pgh lead in ad reservations

Published by Tim McNulty on .

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Political ad reservations by market/Sunlight Foundation. Click for larger version.

Save the tears for Pennsylvania's TV stations passed over by the presidential race -- the state has lately hosted the most ad filings nationwide for any US Senate race, and the Pittsburgh market has received the third most political ad reservations in the nation over the past seven days. Pittsburgh is getting pounded with not only Senate and congressional ads (it hosts the fifth most of that category nationwide) but plenty of down-ballot state races as well.

All those stats from volunteers at the non-partisan Sunlight Foundation, and the numbers do not represent actual ad buys but just reservations made in station public files. They're collected at Sunlight's new project Political Ad Sleuth.

Las Vegas is the leader in almost every advertising category, which shouldn't surprise you if you read the New York Times overview on ad spending Monday. It projects overall ad spending to be $3.3 billion this year, up from $2.8 billion in 2008. The total number of ad appearances tracks that too, with trackers at Kantar Media saying that so far ads have been broadcast 3.5 million times, up from 2.7 million four years ago.

Another factor helping Pittsburgh, even when the presidential campaigns are ignoring its former swing state, is the flood of advertising seems to be moving numbers in congressional races (but not the presidential), and PA12 is among the most competitive races in the state and country. Says the Times:

Scholars who have looked at the impact of campaign ads have found that for races like those for House seats in which name recognition often makes all the difference, ads do matter. But for presidential candidates, the case is not as strong.

And then there's the Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bob Casey and Republican challenger Tom Smith. It's still not on the radar of national spenders -- Club for Growth is adversting in Arizona and Indiana, and the Dem SuperPAC Majority PAC is in those and 6 other states but not Pa, according to Morning Score -- but with some polls showing a dead heat in the race, the ads are flying.

The Casey camp released a tough new one yesterday hammering Smith on Medicare and Social Security and warning, again, about his Tea Party past:

The Smith camp calls the ad "poorly sourced and patently false." Their full fact-check/rebuttal is here.

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