estimated expenditure of $6 billion, the 2012 general election is set to beat the cost of the 2008 polls by about $700 million, a non-profit think-tank has said in a report.
"In the new campaign finance landscape post-Citizens United, we're seeing historic spending levels spurred by outside groups dominated by a small number of individuals and organisations making exceptional contributions," Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said.
Not only is the total cost of the election record-breaking, but the rate at which spending has increased -- and continues to increase -- in the closing weeks of the election as well, the report said.
In particular, outside groups are spending furiously.
Spending by these groups, for and against the two main presidential candidates, has grown from USD 19 million per week in early September to $33 million per week in early October, to $70 million during the week beginning October 21.
The November 6 presidential election, between President Barack Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney, which alone accounts for $2.6 billion, is actually a decrease from 2008, when nearly $2.8 billion was directed at the presidential race, the report said.
In 2012, presidential candidates along with major party committees are expected to spend about USD 2 billion.
Outside organisations that report spending to the Federal Election Commission are predicted to spend more than $528 million to influence the presidential race.
According to the Center For Responsive Politics, spending in congressional races is projected to increase slightly in 2012.
House and Senate candidates combined will spend about $1.82 billion, up from $1.81 in 2010.
The Obama Campaign kept much of its fund raising in-house, churning to collect millions of small donations at least $214.3 million, the report said, adding, that it also heavily tapped networks of wealthy and powerful supporters, known as bundlers, who combined to raise at least $180.1 million.
On the other hand, the Romney campaign never reached historic levels of fund raising but was aligned with powerful outside spending groups.