I've heard a lot lately on the news about how much money is being raised - and spent - by the presidential candidates. The sheer numbers have blown me away, but I hadn't really looked much beyond the top level numbers I was hearing about. One thing I hadn't heard too much about is the comparative distribution of donor bases. (These are the things that I ponder at times like this when I've got a bout of insomnia at 4 a.m.).
So, I found it interesting to look through this NY Times resource and what struck me in particular was the distribution of Barrack Obama's donor base versus the other major candidates, specifically what a high percentage of Obama's funding has been generated from contributions of less than $200. I knew that there was a big grassroots effort from the Obama campaign, but I was still struck by the magnitude of the disparity of funding sources.
Sources of Obama's $58,494,900 in individual contributions (of $58,912,500 total raised)
under $200 - $16,545,600 (28%)
200-2299 - $18,376,190 (31%)
2300 - $23,684,000 (40%)
This versus Clinton's $51,999,800 in individual contributions (of $63,075,900 total raised)
Under $200 - $4,633,860 (9%)
200-2299 - $13,946,810 (27%)
2300 - $33,958,100 (65%)
John Edwards had a fairly similar ratio to Obama's in terms of distribution of funding sources (albeit at a considerably lesser scale than Obama's):
Under $200 - $5,438,940
200-2299 - $9,511,048
2300 - $8,109,200
The rest of the high-profile candidates fall more in line with the Clinton distribution of funding sources.
It's interesting to me that while the totals are fairly comparable between Clinton and Obama, the funding base is clearly so different. After a bit of web searching, I came across the approximate number of Obama donors as 258,000. I couldn't find a recent number for Clinton, but it clearly can't be even as much as half that number.
I'm curious how the distribution of a funding base impacts elections and further funding - I wonder if large or small donors are more loyal to the party or the individual. Instinctively I guess I assume that if Obama won the primary, many of Clinton's large donors (those who have resources for more donating anyway) would flock to support Obama, but I wonder if the smaller donors that Obama has drawn in would necessarily be as eager to support a different candidate (not based on any research, but I think of these donors as more tied to the individual candidate than the larger scale donors).