Midterm Election Spending

How much money was spent on the 2018 midterm elections?

Total cost of U.S. midterm elections from 1998 to 2018 by party (in million U.S. dollars)

Statistic: Total cost of U.S. midterm elections from 1998 to 2018, by party (in million U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista
  1. How accurate was your absolutely amazing prediction?

  2. Describe one trend you see in the data.

  3. What is the main cause of that trend?

  4. What is one consequence of this trend for American politics?

  5. Explain whether this chart is good or bad news.

  6. Based on changes over the past ten years, what amount do you predict will be spent on the 2022 midterm elections?

  7. And how much will be spent on the 2038 midterms?

  8. How does midterm election spending compare to presidential election year spending?

  9. What explains that difference?

  10. Claim: the increase in campaign spending is a sign of the good health of American democracy. Use your reading of the chart and your knowledge of American politics to respond to this claim.

  11. Explain why, relative to the major two parties, Third Parties/Minor Parties spend so little on elections?

  12. Based on this chart and your knowledge of American politics, explain why there are only 3 minor party members in the U.S. Congress.

  13. What question do you have about this chart?

  14. Which party outspent the other in 2018?

  15. Did they get a good return on their investment?

  16. Where is most of this campaign spending money coming from?

  17. Where is most of this campaign money going?

  18. How does the spending illustrated in the chart impact the power of political parties?

  19. Explain how the ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission impacted the spending in the chart? (Pro Tip: this is one of the 15 landmark SCOTUS cases that you should definitely know! You can learn a whole lot more about this case right here!)

  20. Describe the connection between election spending and winning. (see visual below)

Visual Extension

Learning Extension

Check out this fantabulous article on money and elections from Five Thirty Eight.

Action Extension

Check out the data from Open Secrets on the 2018 congressional elections and see how much your very own beloved U.S. representative spent. Share the data in class or online.

Our World In Data Extension

Our Animals in Clothes Extension