Last year, whenever a TV was on, political ads seemed more inescapable than ever before. The barrage started in November 2019 with Michael Bloomberg’s nationwide ad onslaught. The airwaves quieted in early 2020 as Covid-19 lockdowns began and delayed primaries, but the ads came back with a vengeance in August. They remained a steady presence through November (or January if you lived in Georgia). This was a remarkable increase in political ad activity from previous election years. In 2020, more than twice as much was spent on political ads as was spent in 2018 (which itself broke records for political ad activity). A total of $7.95B was spent on political ads in 2020, far exceeding both 2018 ($3.53B) and 2016 ($2.31B). Though the Presidential race did draw the most spending, it was not the sole cause of record-highs.

The top of the ticket always drives spending, and Biden, Bloomberg, and Trump ended the cycle as the first, second, and fourth highest-spending campaigns of all time, respectively. However, spending on the presidential race was only one factor in such a

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