The Washington Post

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. 
Deputy Editor, National Politics



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Sleep advice you won't find in baby books
In defense of dads
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
For good coffee, sniff, slurp and spit
How to keep your child safe in the water
How your online data can get hijacked
Play Videos
How to avoid harmful chemicals in school supplies
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
What you need to know about Legionnaires' disease
How to get organized for back to school
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Next Story
Rachel Weiner · October 8, 2012

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.