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Political Ads: Unexpected Mid-Term Winners

With two months to go before the mid-term elections the stars are aligning for a record-breaking political ad season.

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Jeffrey Coolidge | Iconica | Getty Images

There are a slew of factors at play including looser restrictions on corporate donations and a number of open seats.

Plus, there are competitive contentious races in states around the country, like the Wisconsin Gubernatorial race, plus a handful of wealthy, self-funded candidates like Linda McMahon in Connecticutand Meg Whitman in California.

It all ads up to twenty percent plus higher ad spending than the last mid-term elections.

So far candidates and political groups have spent $891 million, $158 million more than was spent in the same period back in 2006, according Kantar Media. 75 percent of all political ads are bought in the last two months before an election, so if the trajectory continues we're looking at $3 billion in political ads this season, up from $2.4 billion in 2006.

The $600 million in additional ad spending is great for CBS, which owns more local stations than the other media giants, as well as local channel owners like Gannet, Media General, and Sinclair Broadcast Group .

And it's not just local TV ads — viewership is increasingly fragmented so this year candidates are looking to cable and radio to better target niche audiences. That's benefiting the likes of Cox, Cablevision, and Hispanic channels Telemundo and Univision.

The Internet is increasingly important: Candidates are trying to connect directly with voters on their websites or Facebook to explain their positions and raise money. But the funds raised online are spent in traditional media: TV and Radio. The web is a great forum for fundraising and for communicating with engaged voters.

But for reaching a new constituency, nothing compares with TV and radio.

The real wild card this year is the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on the Citizens United case, which loosens the rules on corporate political spending. Corporations are likely to whip out their checkbooks in the final month before elections, so we'll see if that sends political spending even higher than the current trajectory.

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