Political ad spending in El Salvador

Political ad spending for the upcoming presidential election in El Salvador is being tracked by Citizen Action and its Center for Monitoring of Transparency and Democracy.   Citizen Action is a Salvadoran NGO focused on good government and transparency.       The Center for Monitoring is tracking all of the advertisements appearing in newspapers, on radio and TV, and on outdoor billboards.    According to reports from Citizen Action today, the total spending from October through December has been $19.2 million:

Through December, the leader in overall ad spending has been Nayib Bukele and GANA with $7.1 million spent through November.  Following him is Carlos Calleja and ARENA with $6.6 million and then Hugo Martinez for the FMLN with $5.4 million.

In calculating the totals for the FMLN, the monitors have chosen to include certain advertising by the government as advertising for the FMLN. Although these ads do not mention the FMLN candidate, Hugo Martinez by name, the ads declare the successes of the current government with a goal of persuading the public to keep the left wing party in power.

A good example of this government spending can be seen in its recently released 2019 calendar with images of the government at work for the people.   On the page for February, the month of the presidential election, appears Hugo Martinez, the FMLN candidate and former Minister of Foreign Affairs for the country, talking about his achievements:

The Center has also been tracking the words used in the political advertisements of the candidates and created "word clouds" to illustrate the relative frequency of different terms:

As can be seen, the ads focus more on polishing a candidate's image than on specific proposals.  They focus more on results like "more jobs" or  "education"  than they focus on how to achieve those results.