I’ve realized that I misunderstood the data I presented this morning. The 2010 numbers that I quoted were totals for all candidates that had run for office as Democrats and Republicans. Since there were many more Republican than Democratic candidates this year, the amount of money that I attributed to the Republican party was much higher. The numbers for hard money donations shown in the graph were not total amounts raised by the candidates, but the amount of money raised by each party and its respective committees.
My apologies for the mistake. To make it up to you, I made the following graph. It includes hard money raised by the parties, soft money raised by the parties, and money spent by other organizations for the years 1992-2010:
Hopefully this shows a clearer picture. Each pair of bars shows the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right for that election year. As you can see, spending has gone up steadily over the past decade, and there has been steady movement toward spending by outside groups. This year has seen an increase in total spending by these groups for the Republican party but a decrease in spending by these groups for the Democratic party from 2008. As opposed to what I said this morning, overall spending has been lower than it was in 2008, as one would expect in a midterm election.