US Presidential Election Spending by candidate over the years

Cost per vote to become the next US president

This week we take a look at the cost behind the US presidential election campaigns. 

US Presidential Election Spending By Candidate Over The Years
As you can see on the graphs, adjusted for inflation, the cost of campaigning for both presidential candidates was stagnant between 1980 and 2000. To win the 2004 election, George W. Bush spent more than $500 million (adjusted for inflation), which was the most expensive campaign in history at the time and double the amount of any other previous campaign. The record didn't last long, as in 2008, Barack Obama spent a whopping $920 million and set the bar for the elections to come. 

US Presidential Election Spending By Candidate Over The Years
According to Investopedia, "even when adjusted for inflation, the amount of money it takes to become the president has increased more than 250-fold from Abraham Lincoln to Donald Trump."

The 2020 Presidential Election was by far the most expensive one. Joe Biden smashed Obama's 2008 record and spent more than $1 billion, while Trump's campaign neared $800 million. 

As for the cost per vote, the most expensive campaign was Obama's in 2008 where he spent $13.37 for every vote he received, while the least expensive campaign was Al Gore's in 2000 with just $3.60 per vote. A bargain, considering he won the popular vote at the time.