Both sides hate financial sector — in ads

If political advertising is any measure, the banking and finance sector is not very popular at the moment.

A new study by Kantar Media/CMAG, which tracks political ads, found that about $1 of every $10 spent on political ads between mid-April and mid-September made negative references to the financial services sector or specific financial firms.

The leading bugaboo was Bain Capital, the private equity firm co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, which was the focus of about about $26 million in TV broadcast ad spending. President Obama's reelection campaign and a pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, have focused on Romney's tenure at Bain in many of their advertisements.

Another $65 million was spent by both parties on ads decrying the banking business or targeting specific financial institutions, including AIG, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi and Goldman Sachs, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. A total of $91 million out of $897 million in estimated political ad spending was focused on the finance sector, the analysis found.

"The tactic has been bipartisan," CMAG vice president Elizabeth Wilner said in a news release. "Candidates on both sides have been criticized for supporting 'bailouts,' 'Wall Street bonuses' or private accounts for Social Security, among other angles."

The firm also notes that the volume has been increasing as Election Day nears. Since the end of the study period on Sept. 16, CMAG said it identified 70 additional unique ads in down-ballot races making "critical references" to the financial services sector.

The study was conducted analyzing ad tracking data from April 10 to Sept. 16. The findings were published as a white paper for AdAge magazine.

Despite the criticism, the finance sector remains a leading source of campaign cash for candidates at all levels. In the presidential race, the financial and insurance sector has given nearly $50 million dollars to Romney, making it his top industry, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama has collected about $14.5 million from the same sector, ranking behind lawyers and other businesses. 
 

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