Romney’s Tie Costs $75 a Vote to Santorum’s $10: BGOV Barometer

Rick Santorum almost tied Mitt Romney in Iowa’s caucuses while being outspent 7 to 1 on television, showing that old-fashioned retail politics still works in the Hawkeye State.

The BGOV Barometer indicates Romney and his supporters spent an estimated $2.3 million on TV advertising in Iowa, which comes down to $75.44 for each of the 30,015 votes he garnered in the Jan. 3 caucuses. Santorum’s backers spent $303,570 for TV ads on his behalf, or $10.12 for each of his 30,007 votes.

All of the money spent on ads supporting Santorum came from independent political action committees that can take unlimited donations. So-called super PACs helped push spending on television advertising in the state to an estimated $7 million through Jan. 2, according to the most recent data available from New York-based Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group. Of that amount, $4.3 million financed negative ads, most aimed at former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who placed fourth in the caucuses.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, finished a strong second after criss-crossing the state in a supporter’s pickup truck. While Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, spent more than Santorum, he invested less in the Iowa race than he had four years ago. He had five local staffers this time versus 50 in 2008.

Final spending numbers for the candidates aren’t yet available. Latest figures from the Campaign Media Analysis Group show Rick Perry and his supporters had the worst return on their investment. The Perry campaign and independent political action committees spent a combined $2.8 million on advertising, or $218.65 for each of his 12,604 votes, a fifth-place finish for the Texas governor.

Ron Paul, who placed third, and Gingrich, who ran fourth, spent similar amounts per vote. Paul, the Texas congressman, spent $997,370 and drew 26,219 votes, or $38.04 per vote. Gingrich and his supporters spent $611,470 and he drew 16,251 votes. That’s $37.63 a vote.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota garnered 6,073 votes after spending $59,930, which works out to $9.87 a vote. She dropped out of the race after her sixth-place finish in Iowa.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Cook in Washington at pcook6@bloomberg.net; Greg Giroux in Washington at ggiroux@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Rohner in Washington at mrohner@bloomberg.net

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