If conventional wisdom held, political activity would be subdued in 2021 following President Trump’s departure from office. But early returns from 2021 show that politics still have the power to surprise. Political media activity in Q2 of 2021 has been 107% higher than Q2 of 2019. This increased activity has come from a wide variety of advertisers across the country, indicating it is not just one particularly active group driving spending. Historical trends indicate that spending generally grows quarter-by-quarter over a two-year cycle, meaning that even the most bullish of initial predictions could undersell political activity for the coming cycle if this trend continues.
We have seen spending double from 2021 Q1 to Q2. As we can see from previous “off” years, this pattern is somewhat unusual. New York City’s Democratic primaries were certainly a major factor in this growth, but far from the only cause.
New York City’s Democratic mayoral primary election was by far the largest election of the quarter. The mayoral primary, which Eric Adams will almost certainly win, was three times more expensive than
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