A new analysis shows that in the deluge of TV ads in the early voting states for the Republican presidential primaries, nearly half of the ads are coming not from the candidates but from superPACs — the new breed of political committees that raise unregulated money. Political scientists at Wesleyan University in Connecticut found that so far, there have been about the same number of GOP primary ads as there were four years ago. An analysis by the Wesleyan Media Group shows that while the overall number of ads in the 2012 Republican presidential primary is similar to four years ago, the source of the ads has changed. What’s different — and different in a big way — is the role of outside money groups, mostly superPACs, says Erika Franklin Fowler, a director of the Wesleyan Media Project. “They went from about 3 percent of total ad airings in the 2008 race to almost half, about 44 percent, in 2012,” she says.
SuperPACs are creations of several recent legal rulings, including the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. A superPAC can raise unlimited money from corporations, unions and the wealthy. The candidate can help raise that money, but the candidate and the superPAC cannot coordinate their messages.
Fowler says that once superPACs became possible, they changed the game in the 2010 congressional races. “2010 was a record-breaking year in terms of political advertising, and we expect 2012 to shatter those records,” Fowler says.
Full Article: Study: SuperPACs Behind Nearly Half Of 2012 Ads : NPR.