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Outside spenders' return on investment: Capitol Hill edition

by

Few stories that we've done in this space have elicited such a torrent of chatter as the one we posted earlier this month looking at the picture of scalereturn on investment for the outside groups that poured more than a half billion dollars into the presidential election. Today, we take a look at how they did in congressional races. We'll explain how we did both stories and dive deeper into the data at a webinar that begins at 1 p.m. ET 

JOIN THE CONVERSATION AND LEARN TO DIY: Click here to sign up for Sunlight's webinar.

Return on investment (ROI) for outside spenders represents the percent of money spent that went toward producing the election results the groups wanted. This could be money spent in support of a candidate who won, or money spent to oppose a candidate who lost. Remember that the vast percentage of money spent by outside groups went for negative campaigning. (See a visualization of the data here.)

Because of the enormous sums spent on the presidential election, we ran some additional calculations to see how groups fared on their congressional bets. Then, we drilled down further to see how they did when it came to races for the House and for the Senate. Since the presidential outcomes are all or nothing, we didn't provide a separate line item for that. 

Eight groups' rate of return increased by 50 percent or more. The biggest-spending of those, the Ending Spending Action Fund, plunked down $2.9 million (of its $12.8 million in general election spending) on Senate races.  When its unsuccessful big bet on Romney is excluded from the calculation, the group’s rate of return skyrockets from 15 percent overall to 67 percent.

The adjusted percentages for left-leaning groups are not as dramatic. Taking out the presidential money decreased some of the union groups’ percentages by 11 to 17 percentage points. The biggest spender, SEIU PEA-Federal, spent $15.8 in the general election, getting an 85% return on all investments compared to a 68% return on congressional investments.

Potentially significant in light of the negotiations now underway on how to avoid the "fiscal cliff" looming if Congress and the White House can't agree on spending cuts and revenue increases: the success of Americans for Tax Reform, whose founder, Grover Norquist is the godfather of the no-new-taxes-pledge that just about every Republican member of Congress signs. ATR is one of the few conservative outside spending groups that scored a better-than 50 percent ROI; the number rises to 61 percent.

Races that ended in recounts or runoffs are counted toward general election spending but not counted in the win/loss percentage. You can read more about our methodology here or sign up for the webinar where we will be available to answer your questions.

Below are the ROI stats for the top 30 outside spending groups that were active in more than one race in the general election.   Scroll to the bottom to see the complete data set. 

 

AMERICAN CROSSROADS

1.29%

Congress ROI : 10.76%

House ROI : 0.00%

Senate ROI : 10.76%


Total spent campaign 2012: $104,710,472

  • 1.29% of $103,559,717 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 0 winning candidates; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 2 losing candidates; 1.29% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

CROSSROADS GRASSROOTS POLICY STRATEGIES

14.40%

Congress ROI : 20.97%

House ROI : 36.63%

Senate ROI : 17.09%


Total spent campaign 2012: $70,709,963

  • 14.40% of $70,709,963 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 0 winning candidates; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 7 losing candidates; 14.40% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE

31.88%

Congress ROI : 31.88%

House ROI : 31.88%

Senate ROI : N/A


Total spent campaign 2012: $64,653,292

  • 31.88% of $62,752,315 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 2 winning candidates; 0.39% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 17 losing candidates; 31.50% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE

61.43%

Congress ROI : 61.43%

House ROI : 61.43%

Senate ROI : N/A


Total spent campaign 2012: $61,741,050

  • 61.43% of $58,985,815 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 3 winning candidates; 0.84% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 38 losing candidates; 60.59% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE

79.73%

Congress ROI : 79.73%

House ROI : N/A

Senate ROI : 79.73%


Total spent campaign 2012: $52,105,196

  • 79.73% of $52,105,196 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 1 winning candidates; 1.75% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 10 losing candidates; 77.97% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

MAJORITY PAC

87.86%

Congress ROI : 87.76%

House ROI : N/A

Senate ROI : 87.76%


Total spent campaign 2012: $37,477,541

  • 87.86% of $34,359,657 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 5 winning candidates; 6.04% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 10 losing candidates; 81.82% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

6.90%

Congress ROI : 6.90%

House ROI : 21.02%

Senate ROI : 2.06%


Total spent campaign 2012: $32,676,075

  • 6.90% of $31,937,037 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 4 winning candidates; 2.49% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 3 losing candidates; 4.41% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE

24.05%

Congress ROI : 24.05%

House ROI : N/A

Senate ROI : 24.05%


Total spent campaign 2012: $31,710,841

  • 24.05% of $31,710,841 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 0 winning candidates; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 3 losing candidates; 24.05% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

HOUSE MAJORITY PAC

70.71%

Congress ROI : 70.70%

House ROI : 70.70%

Senate ROI : N/A


Total spent campaign 2012: $30,752,440

  • 70.71% of $27,587,516 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 5 winning candidates; 0.13% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 35 losing candidates; 70.58% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

AMERICAN FUTURE FUND

5.57%

Congress ROI : 31.10%

House ROI : 0.64%

Senate ROI : 61.29%


Total spent campaign 2012: $23,959,072

  • 5.57% of $23,613,532 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 0 winning candidates; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 3 losing candidates; 5.57% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

FREEDOMWORKS FOR AMERICA

24.59%

Congress ROI : 25.50%

House ROI : 16.13%

Senate ROI : 30.02%


Total spent campaign 2012: $19,234,074

  • 24.59% of $16,732,851 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 23 winning candidates; 20.53% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 11 losing candidates; 4.06% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM

57.35%

Congress ROI : 57.35%

House ROI : 61.19%

Senate ROI : 21.14%


Total spent campaign 2012: $15,794,582

  • 57.35% of $15,791,034 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 2 winning candidates; 7.22% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 6 losing candidates; 50.13% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION PEA-FEDERAL

85.37%

Congress ROI : 67.85%

House ROI : 50.28%

Senate ROI : 82.44%


Total spent campaign 2012: $15,202,306

  • 85.37% of $15,202,306 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 15 winning candidates; 73.01% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 7 losing candidates; 12.36% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

SEIU COPE (SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL EDUCATION)

79.12%

Congress ROI : 67.99%

House ROI : 49.51%

Senate ROI : 89.01%


Total spent campaign 2012: $14,594,501

  • 79.12% of $14,318,138 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 11 winning candidates; 12.78% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 25 losing candidates; 66.33% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

ENDING SPENDING ACTION FUND

15.34%

Congress ROI : 67.30%

House ROI : N/A

Senate ROI : 67.30%


Total spent campaign 2012: $13,238,296

  • 15.34% of $12,821,276 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 4 winning candidates; 7.82% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 2 losing candidates; 7.52% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES P E O P L E

53.87%

Congress ROI : 49.93%

House ROI : 46.69%

Senate ROI : 52.42%


Total spent campaign 2012: $12,696,401

  • 53.87% of $12,696,401 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 1 winning candidates; 1.46% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 13 losing candidates; 52.42% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA POLITICAL VICTORY FUND

0.83%

Congress ROI : 5.63%

House ROI : 86.85%

Senate ROI : 4.23%


Total spent campaign 2012: $11,787,523

  • 0.83% of $10,942,533 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 28 winning candidates; 0.44% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 6 losing candidates; 0.39% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

AMERICAN ACTION NETWORK INC

60.33%

Congress ROI : 60.33%

House ROI : 60.33%

Senate ROI : 0.00%


Total spent campaign 2012: $11,785,919

  • 60.33% of $10,638,427 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 6 winning candidates; 0.64% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 6 losing candidates; 59.69% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS INC

83.00%

Congress ROI : 81.00%

House ROI : 64.32%

Senate ROI : 87.71%


Total spent campaign 2012: $10,897,016

  • 83.00% of $9,646,723 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 10 winning candidates; 13.64% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 13 losing candidates; 69.36% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP FUND

60.64%

Congress ROI : 60.64%

House ROI : 60.64%

Senate ROI : N/A


Total spent campaign 2012: $9,450,237

  • 60.64% of $9,450,237 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 0 winning candidates; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 8 losing candidates; 60.64% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

INDEPENDENCE USA PAC

45.74%

Congress ROI : 45.74%

House ROI : 45.74%

Senate ROI : N/A


Total spent campaign 2012: $8,169,429

  • 45.74% of $8,169,429 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 2 winning candidates; 37.17% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 2 losing candidates; 8.57% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION

10.74%

Congress ROI : 23.60%

House ROI : 49.75%

Senate ROI : 14.76%


Total spent campaign 2012: $7,448,017

  • 10.74% of $7,419,644 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 27 winning candidates; 10.43% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 2 losing candidates; 0.31% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

NOW OR NEVER PAC

14.30%

Congress ROI : 14.30%

House ROI : 0.00%

Senate ROI : 23.62%


Total spent campaign 2012: $7,760,174

  • 14.30% of $7,064,959 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 0 winning candidates; 0.00% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 1 losing candidates; 14.30% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

PATRIOT MAJORITY USA

42.52%

Congress ROI : 40.67%

House ROI : 68.36%

Senate ROI : 36.25%


Total spent campaign 2012: $7,509,093

  • 42.52% of $6,323,095 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 3 winning candidates; 11.21% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 5 losing candidates; 31.32% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

WOMEN VOTE!

80.46%

Congress ROI : 80.42%

House ROI : 81.53%

Senate ROI : 80.10%


Total spent campaign 2012: $7,887,648

  • 80.46% of $6,072,693 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 5 winning candidates; 6.37% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 11 losing candidates; 74.08% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

WORKERS' VOICE

76.38%

Congress ROI : 58.49%

House ROI : 8.73%

Senate ROI : 79.83%


Total spent campaign 2012: $5,878,449

  • 76.38% of $5,732,876 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 15 winning candidates; 41.98% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 16 losing candidates; 34.40% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

CLUB FOR GROWTH ACTION

41.50%

Congress ROI : 41.50%

House ROI : 100.00%

Senate ROI : 37.74%


Total spent campaign 2012: $16,585,176

  • 41.50% of $5,163,013 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 4 winning candidates; 13.80% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 2 losing candidates; 27.70% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc.

98.11%

Congress ROI : 88.68%

House ROI : 62.04%

Senate ROI : 99.69%


Total spent campaign 2012: $6,886,468

  • 98.11% of $5,141,216 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 12 winning candidates; 26.65% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 12 losing candidates; 71.46% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

PLANNED PARENTHOOD VOTES

98.45%

Congress ROI : 92.16%

House ROI : 0.00%

Senate ROI : 94.96%


Total spent campaign 2012: $5,118,417

  • 98.45% of $5,118,417 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 7 winning candidates; 18.95% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 7 losing candidates; 79.50% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE LEADERSHIP

1.96%

Congress ROI : 23.69%

House ROI : 0.00%

Senate ROI : 30.96%


Total spent campaign 2012: $5,022,762

  • 1.96% of $5,022,762 spent in the general election and ending in the desired result.
  • Supported 4 winning candidates; 1.96% of money went to supporting winning candidates.
  • Opposed 0 losing candidates; 0.00% of money went to opposing losing candidates.

See the full profile here.


 

 

Data

 

See full page view here

Download chart 1 here

See full page view here

Download chart 2 here