Hearing a french conference, the speaker told us that it's easy to understand american presidential elections, because the candidate with the highest campain budget allways is choosen.

But I can't find actual datas, and I wonder if it is true.


1 Answer 1


It depends what you mean by "campaign budget." If by that you mean how much a campaign spent, then no: The candidate who spent the most money (or for whom the most money was spent on their behalf) does not always win the election. The prime counterexample was the 2012 Obama/Romney election, in which Romney out-spent Obama by over $6 million and still lost. However, the Obama campaign had raised over $80 million more than the Romney campaign; they just chose not to spend as much.

In the 2014 elections, there were a number of hotly contested congressional races in which the winner both raised and spent less money (e.g., Georgia senate, Colorado senate, California house of representatives, New York house of representatives, &c.).

So, these counterexamples prove that the candidate who raises or spends more money does not necessarily win the election. Whether or not the candidate who raises/spends more money is statistically more likely to win is a different question that may in fact be true.

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