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Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama: A Complete Guide to Campaign Spending in Election 2012 (+Video)

A new report by eMarketer, predicts this year’s online political advertising spending will increase a staggering 617% compared to the 2008 elections.  

The study found that the 2012 presidential candidates will spend an estimated $160 million on online political ads, as the internet chips in at television’s traditional supremacy as the main source of information for potential voters.

However, the $160 million represent just 1.5% of the total political ad money that will be spent this year, as the unlimited and undisclosed financial power of the Super PACs will litter the airwaves across the country all the way to November 6. Nonetheless, when compared to the $22.2 million spent in online political advertising during the 2008 elections, this year's estimated online political ad spending represents a remarkable increase. 

The increase in online political ad spending is due to an increase in the number of potential voters who said they get their information about candidates primarily from the internet. According to a study by Burst Media, 27.7% of likely voters get their information about candidates and causes primarily on the internet – a 10% jump over 2008. This puts the internet just slightly behind television as the main source of political information for likely voters (28.3% said they get their information primarily from television). 

Additional insights include the fact that independent voters are more likely to obtain information about candidates from the internet than from television; and, that a healthy 34.7% of likely male voters prefer the internet over television for the same purposes (21.2% of female voters said they get their political information primarily from the internet). 

Unsurprisingly, news sites were the most visited information sources by voters with 47.7% of them saying they visit them to get daily updates. However, news sites were more relevant for those ages 55 and older while likely voters between the ages of 18 and 43 said they prefer to get their news from Facebook and YouTube. 

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