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$6 Billion in Political Spending for No Change?

November 7, 2012

Many are happy to see the political ads end now that Election Day has passed. But with $6 billion spent on the ads and little political shift in Washington, was the money worth it?

"It was a little like trench warfare with a lot of money spent, lots of ads run, not a ton of movement, but the movement was positive for the Democrats," said Kyle Kondik, communications director for the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "I think there are a lot of Republicans probably scratching their head."

Kondik says Republicans could be wondering why the money they spent on advertising kept Barack Obama in the White House and Democrats in charge of the U.S. Senate.

"It sort of feels like it was the status quo election," he said.

With few political shifts, many analysts say Republicans need to consider a new game plan.

"This election was a blow to them because I think they expected to beat the president and they didn't," Kondik said. "I think they expected to pick up seats in the Senate and they didn't."

One of those seats was the one of retiring Sen. Jim Webb. Democrat Tim Kaine defeated Republican George Allen for that seat in a close race.

The presidential race in Virginia was also close, but Obama still had a comfortable lead over challenger Mitt Romney.

"I think Virginia's final result is going to mirror the country's, pretty much like it did in 2008," Kondik said, adding that Virginia is becoming more urban, diverse and educated. "That's reflective of the country as a whole, and if Republicans can't carry Virginia, I don't know how they're going to be winning national elections."

Democrats' money has paid off and is now turning into momentum. Republicans, though, still control the U.S. House.

"I think the Republicans have a durable majority in the House that should hold up at least for another cycle," Kondik said.

The election has kept a divided Congress, meaning compromise will be necessary for any change to take place.


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