2015 ballot measure TV ads
Twenty-eight statewide ballot measures will have gone before voters by the end of 2015, but so far only five of them have been advertised on broadcast TV, according to media tracker Kantar Media/CMAG. Here’s a breakdown of the ballot measure ad spending so far:
- Ohio Issue 3, legalize marijuana: $3.1 million: A group called Responsible Ohio has spent more than $3.1 million to air ads advocating for legalization, part of its proposed $20 million campaign to make pot legal. The campaign includes door-to-door canvassing, social media outreach and a bus tour with a marijuana mascot named “Buddie.” Voters will head to the polls Nov. 3.
- Michigan Proposal 1, transportation funding: $2 million (decided): Michigan voters rejected Proposition 1 in May, despite advocates spending more than $2 million to air ads supporting it. The measure would have increased the sales and gasoline taxes to pay for more transportation projects. The campaign for the measure was largely funded by the Michigan Infrastructure and Transportation Association, which represents construction companies.
- Mississippi Initiative 42, education funding: $711,000: The group known as Better Schools Better Jobs has paid more than $536,000 to air ads supporting the initiative that would allow courts to enforce a portion of state law that mandates Mississippi’s legislature fund public schools at promised levels. A group opposing the initiative, aligned with the state’s Business and Industry Political Education Committee, a nonprofit group that advocates for free-market economics, spent about more than $174,000 on ads saying the measure would leave education funding in the hands of one judge. Voters will decide the measure’s fate Nov. 3.
- Wisconsin Question 1, judicial leadership: $267,000 (decided): Two groups warred on the airwaves in Wisconsin this spring over whether the state Supreme Court chief justice should be chosen by a vote of fellow justices instead of by seniority. Liberals viewed the April 7 ballot measure as an attempt to depose the left-leaning chief justice and spent nearly $83,000 on ads fighting the measure. A conservative-aligned group supporting new selection rules spent more than $185,000 on airtime. The measure passed.
- Maine Question 1, campaign finance: $264,000: Mainers for Accountable Elections is backing Question 1, which would increase public funding for elections, stiffen penalties for violating campaign finance rules and require groups to list their top three funders on their political TV ads. The group has spent roughly $264,000 to air TV ads for the measure, which will be on the Nov. 3 ballot. Some of its largest donations have come from campaign-finance advocacy groups and Sean Eldridge, a New York-based activist and husband of Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.
Source: Center for Public Integrity analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data through Oct. 12.