Only 1/3 of US presidential campaign budgets go on ads — Here’s where the rest of that money goes

Donald Trump has been able to generate unprecedented levels of free press attention during his US presidential campaign so far. One result of this is that the other candidates have been forced to dig deeper into their budgets and spend more on advertising — in order to keep up with the billionaire Republican hopeful.

In fact, the “Trump Effect” is going to push political ad spending up to a record $11.7 billion this year, according to Borrell associates.

However, this $11.7 billion only makes up, on average, less than one third of the total campaign spending, according to new data from the Federal Election Commission.

The biggest cost of running a presidential campaign is actually admin, which makes up 47% of the budget.

Here’s the full breakdown of what campaigns spend their dollars on:


The data is based on the records of 20 political campaigns (candidates and PACs) and comes from the Borrell Associates report on political ad spending.

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