From Open Secrets:
Super PACs have sponsored 81 percent of the TV ads in the GOP presidential primaries, up about 71 percent over 2011 and a 12,000 percent jump over 2007.
The findings are included in a new report from the Wesleyan Media Project, with which the Center for Responsive Politics partnered. The report shows that this year (through Dec. 9), outside spending groups have sponsored 35,743 of 44,270 of the ads in the Republican primaries.
But there’s a big disconnect, in most cases, between the amount of money spent advertising on a candidate’s behalf and how well that candidate is doing in the polls. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and the pro-Bush Right to Rise USA super PAC have aired more than 15,000 ads on broadcast television, national network and national cable television since January 1, at a cost of almost $26 million. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has aired no ads, and Ted Cruz has benefited from only 457 ads since the start of the year (through December 9th). Bush’s poll numbers are terrible, though, while Trump and Cruz have been surging.
Almost all the advertising is coming from single candidate groups, and most of it is sponsored by groups that disclose who their donors are.
The main exception: Conservative Solutions Project, which has been the main group advertising in support of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). It is a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group that doesn’t disclose the names of its donors — not a super PAC like virtually all of the other…