January 12, 2015
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SCGOP Chair releases groundbreaking study of 2012 S.C. presidential primary

New research estimates almost $50 million economic impact from South Carolina’s 2012 Republican presidential primary

Columbia, S.C. – SCGOP Chairman Matt Moore today released a groundbreaking study of South Carolina’s 2012 Republican presidential primary cycle completed in partnership with the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business.

The first of its kind academic research was completed as Chairman Moore’s Master of Economics thesis using the university’s economic impact simulator. Data sources included interviews, thousands of candidate spending records, and TV/radio ad purchase receipts.

According to Moore’s research, the primary gave an almost $20 million direct boost to South Carolina’s economy and added almost $30 million in free marketing value for the state, cities, and event locations.

Of the $20 million direct boost, presidential campaigns and SuperPACs spent over $11 million in TV/radio ads across South Carolina from February 2011 through January 2012. Campaigns, visitors, and news networks also spent thousands on staffing, supplies, hotel rooms, and food.

In terms of free marketing value, the January 2012 debate in Myrtle Beach generated over $11 million in free advertising for the city. The November 2011 debate at Wofford College generated over $8 million in free advertising for the college and Spartanburg. Wofford’s logo appeared on screen for much of the nationally-broadcast debate, leading to record application numbers at the college.

The primary cycle facilitated 289 full-time equivalent jobs earning approximately $10 million in compensation. “This research shows the true value that the primary has to South Carolina,” said Dr. Doug Woodward, the USC economist who advised Moore’s thesis.

Link to complete research:

Executive Summary

The 2011-2012 South Carolina Republican presidential primary cycle affected the state’s economy in multiple ways. Presidential campaigns, political parties, third party groups, and so-called Super PACs spent millions in television and radio advertisements. These entities and news networks also purchased goods and services and hired staff. Much of their spending originated from outside of South Carolina. Charleston, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg hosted four economically significant, nationally televised presidential debates attended by thousands. A large degree of presidential primary activity, including the debates and staffing, took place in these four cities plus the capital city of Columbia. The primary also brought valuable marketing opportunities to the state, colleges, universities, and other areas that hosted events. The key finding of this thesis is that the 2012 South Carolina presidential primary generated a total of $19.5 million in statewide, value-added economic activity and supported approximately 289 full-time equivalent (FTE), non-permanent jobs earning approximately $10 million in employee compensation. Every ten FTE, non-permanent jobs during the 2012 South Carolina Republican presidential primary supported approximately five FTE, non-permanent jobs in the South Carolina economy over the twelve-month primary period. Finally, the presidential primary generated nearly $30 million in statewide marketing value.