By now, you already know it's a record-shattering midterm election cycle in terms of how much money is being raised and spent. Republicans hold the advantage when it comes to so-called "outside" spending by groups like American Crossroads. Democrats have the upper-hand in spending by their traditional party committees. But how does it break down in the big picture?
The Center for Responsive Politics crunched the numbers for us today and found a pretty even split between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to money raised this cycle:
- Republicans $1.55 billion (48%)
- Democrats $1.53 billion (47%)
CRP also revised upwards its estimate of how much money will be spent by the time next Tuesday rolls around: $4 billion. That's $300 million more than the prior estimate of $3.7 billion. CRP says that's enough cash to run the city of Pittsburgh for two years, buy every resident of Topeka a nice used car or give every American a Big Mac and fries.
In terms of overall spending, retirees pack a punch. They lead the list of donors to the 120+ interest groups and special interests that CRP tracks. As CBS News reported last week, retirees are the top supporters of many Tea Party-related groups and candidates.
Here's the top five groups in terms of donations to federal level candidates and committees thru mid-October:
- Retirees: $109 million (slightly favoring Republicans)
- Lawyers and law firms: $102.8 million (favoring Democrats $3 to $1)
- Securities and investment firms: $65.8 million
- Political candidate committees: $57.4 million
- Real estate $55.4 million
"This year's federal election will obliterate all spending records for a midterm," according to CRP's Sheila Krumholz, surpassing the previous 2006 record by $1 billion.
Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News Investigative Correspondent based in Washington. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here.