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Ohio: brutal winters and political ads clogging TV airwaves

November 5, 2010 | 12:49 pm

Ohio has earned its reputation for being a politically restive state. The Nielsen Co. on Friday offered more evidence in its analysis of political advertising during this past election season. 

Nielsen found that Cleveland and Columbus had the highest concentration of political ads of any metropolitan area -- more than cities in other key battleground states including California, New York, Nevada and Colorado. 

American TV viewers, according to Nielsen, were exposed to nearly 1.48 million political commercials in October -- an increase from 1.41 million political ads that ran during October 2008, leading up to the presidential election. "It was the largest political ad output on record in what is traditionally known as the busiest month of the year for political messaging," Nielsen said.

The ratings giant tabulated commercials transmitted by local broadcast stations in the top 128 television markets. "Cleveland stations aired the highest proportion of political and issue advertising," Nielsen said. "About one out of every four paid TV ads aired on local Cleveland stations was placed by a political candidate or outside political group."

Columbus, the state capital, came in second in the Nielsen ranking with an estimated 23.37% of paid ads bought by political entities.

Interestingly, the next speaker of the U.S. House -- Republican John Boehner -- also hails from the Buckeye State.

Three West Coast cities -- Portland, Sacramento and Seattle -- rounded out the Top Five. The Nielsen data might come as a surprise to viewers in Los Angeles. Analysts determined that more money was spent on campaign ads in Los Angeles than in any other market, including New York. An estimated $120 million was spent on campaign commercials run by Los Angeles TV stations.

Cities with the lowest political ad saturation levels were Jackson, Miss.; Richmond, Va.; Lincoln, Neb.; Salt Lake City; and Tyler, Texas.

-- Meg James