Dec. 16, 2015: This story has been corrected.
Rubio and his super PAC allies aired more than 2,500 TV ads during the first two weeks of December, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of preliminary data provided by Kantar Media/CMAG, a firm that tracks TV ads on broadcast and national — but not local — cable.
That amounted to nearly two TV ads every hour targeting voters in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire — and about five-and-a-half TV ads every hour in Iowa, which hosts the nation’s first nominating caucus on Feb. 1. None were attack ads. All praised Rubio.
Television advertisements are a crucial way of reaching voters. They can also be incredibly expensive, with groups sometimes paying tens of thousands of dollars to air a single spot during a prime programming window.
Team Rubio’s early December advertising barrage represented more ads supporting any other candidate in the race except one — fellow Floridian Jeb Bush, the state’s former governor, who has struggled to gain traction despite a months-long advertising blitz underwritten by his super PAC supporters.
Bush and his supportive super PAC aired about 3,000 TV ads during the first two weeks of December, according to Kantar Media/CMAG. But all the ads — or money — in the world don’t necessarily buy a candidate love, said Iowa State University political science professor David Andersen.
“Bush is coming across as kind of bland and stale,” Andersen said. “He’s having a really tough time resonating with voters.”