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The multibillion-dollar 2012 election: By the numbers
So much money spent for so little change in Washington
 
President Obama after his victory speech in Chicago: In total, $931,471,420 was spent on the campaign to re-elect Obama.
President Obama after his victory speech in Chicago: In total, $931,471,420 was spent on the campaign to re-elect Obama.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In an election that generated a lot of firsts — first states to legalize marijuana for recreation and profit, first openly gay U.S. senator, the first Mormon presidential candidate battling the first black president — one fact sticks out, and not necessarily in a good way: This was by far the most expensive election in U.S. history. Neither President Obama nor GOP challenger Mitt Romney accepted public financing, leaving them free to raise massive amounts of money, and after the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling, super PAC and 501(c)(4) "dark money" groups poured hundreds of millions into the election. And for all that cash, Obama was re-elected, Republicans kept control of the House, and Democrats retained the Senate. Here's a look at the super-expensive 2012 election, by the numbers:

$4.2 billion
Total amount raised during the 2012 election, for the presidential, House, and Senate races, through Nov. 4

$6 billion
Estimated amount the 2012 elections will cost when all the numbers are tallied

$3.8 billion
Total amount raised for the 2008 election, the previous record

$931,471,420
Total amount spent on the campaign to re-elect Obama, through Oct. 17

$1,022,753,733
Total amount spent on the campaign to elect Romney, through Oct. 17

599
Obama campaign field offices

300
Romney campaign field offices

1.1 million
TV political ads run since April, mostly in nine battleground states

$750 million
Cost to run those ads

100,674
Ads Obama ran in Ohio

41,162
Ads Romney ran in Ohio

219,414
Total political ads run in Ohio, including those of outside groups

51
Visits Romney made to Ohio in 2012

22
Visits Obama made to Ohio in 2012

50.1
Percent of the vote Obama won in Ohio, versus 48.2 percent for Romney

149
Wealthy donors who each donated at least $500,000, for a total of at least $290 million

$53.69 million
Amount (and counting) donated by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife to defeat Obama and other Democrats

4.2 million
Individual donors to the Obama campaign

2
States flipped in presidential vote — Obama won Indiana and North Carolina in 2008 and lost them in 2012

0
Net change in Senate seats, with results pending in Montana and North Dakota

240-190
Make-up of House before the election, in favor of Republicans, with five seats vacant

238-197
Make-up of House after the election, in favor of Republics, according to NBC News projections

Sources: ABC News, CNNMoney, The Huffington Post, NBC News, London Evening Standard, Politico

 

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