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Have your say: Which are the best (and worst) U.S. campaign attack ads? Add to ...

Political ads are a mainstay of presidential campaigns. With new political action committees – called Super PACs – spending freely in the 2012 presidential election, the sheer volume of ads in battleground states and the amount of money being spent is phenomenal.

According to analysis by Kantar Media/CMAG and Washington Post, half of all the money raised by the campaigns and their supporters is spent on advertising.

As of October 21, here is a breakdown of the ad spending:

  • Cost of TV ads by Obama campaign and affiliated groups: $317-million. Of those ads, 85 per cent are negative ads attacking Mitt Romney.
  • Cost of TV ads by Romney campaign and affiliated groups: $348-million. Of those ads, 91 per cent are negative ads attacking Barack Obama.
  • Florida, Ohio and Virginia – the states where most ad money has been spent by both campaigns and their supporters.

The campaigns have been aided by Super PACs in the ad wars. Crossroads GPS – which is pro-Romney and run by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove – has spent $47.4-million since early September, according to Reuters. The second-biggest spender for the same period: pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action, which spent $18.6-million on ads. In third place: the pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future, which spent $9.7-million.

In the closing days of the campaign, there will be a TV ad frenzy. Here are seven from this week from the campaigns and their supporters. Vote on which ones you think are most effective in what they are trying to achieve.

Which was the most effective ad? Vote and tweet for your favourites.

Interactive by Stuart A. Thompson
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