The Most Expensive Election in History by the Numbers

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The election is almost over, and thanks to a combination of near-constant fundraising and outside spending, the 2012 race will go down as the most expensive election in history (until we hold the next presidential race, you can assume). Here are the eye-popping money totals behind the expansive money binge.

$6 billion The total amount spent on this election, according to an estimate by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. That's $700 million more than the previous "most expensive election" in history—2008—and includes money spent by the campaigns, outside groups, and independent organizations. 

$970 million The estimated amount spent by outside groups during the 2012 cycle, according to Federal Election Commission data. "The increase has largely been driven by rapidly increased spending among 'super PACs' and outside groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money from donors," reported The New York Times' Nicholas Confessore

$874.6 million The amount that went toward Obama's re-election this election cycle, with the Obama campaign burning through $553.2 million, the DNC spending $263.2 million, and the biggest Obama Super PACS spending $58 million. 

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$844.6 million The amount that went toward Romney's candidacy this cycle, with the campaign spending $360.4 million, the RNC adding $284 million, and Super PACs adding $200 million.

$265 million The gap between the amount President Obama and Mitt Romney spent on TV ads through Oct. 29. In sum, the president spent far more. If you combine the ad spending, it amounts to more than one million television ads purchased by the campaigns and their supporters. The Wesleyan Media Project, which gathered the numbers, has a chart of this increase in ads.  

$123 million The amount of "dark money" or anonymous cash spent to influence the elections though Nov. 1, according to the Sunlight Foundation. "Of that, $172.4 million (81%) has been spent to help Republican candidates, as compared to $35.7 million (19%) to help Democrats." You can bet they have a graphic:

$78 million The amount the two campaigns spent on online advertising throughout the race, according to FEC data reviewed by the online marketing firm Ward Room. The data shows that the Obama campaign spent $52 million on online ads while the Romney campaign spent only $26 million. Yes, they have an infographic: 

$30.33 The amount the Romney and Obama campaigns spent every second this election cycle on your vote (that includes everything from rallies to banners and TV ads), according to Federal Election Commission data. 

$22 The amount the campaigns spent via online ads per vote on an average American. You can see how much the campaigns spent on your voter demographic here

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.