US presidential hopefuls pass on Spanish-language ads
Michelle Clancy | 08-10-2012

In a closely-fought election season and a record-breaking year for presidential campaign spending, minority voters represent a coveted block of support that can sway the outcome in individual states.

Yet less than 5 percent of total political ad spending in the United States went towards Spanish-language TV ads this year, according to the analysis of 10 states by Kantar Mediaís Campaign Media Analysis Group and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In the 10 states studied, the Obama campaign and PACs have spent around 9% of all ad dollars on Spanish-language media (around $7.1 million), while the Romney campaign and its affiliates have dedicated just over 4%, or $3.2 million. Even in states with the largest and most concentrated Hispanic populations, spending on Spanish-language political ads represents a small fraction of total 2012 election ad spending, the report found.

For instance, while the most money was spent in Florida, candidates still only ponied up $7.3 million to woo Spanish-language voters there. But that almost triples the next-closest amount spent for Spanish ads: only $2.6 million has been spent in the much larger state of Texas, representing just 5.9% of local, state and federal election ad spending between 10 April 10 and 25 September. The biggest target in that state has been the Dallas market, which contrary to state trends has been getting more "blue" over time. Just over $1.7 million was spent on Spanish-language ads in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area, mostly for Senate and House races; that represents around 11% of total ad spending in the metro.

Kantar said that while the actual amount spent on Spanish-language ads has increased since 2008, as a percentage spending has been holding steady, despite the explosion in the Hispanic population in the U.S.