Friday, June 8, 2012

Obama raises more people, but loses May fundraising

Mitt Romney exceeded Barack Obama for the first time in May by raising some $76 million. The president and his team did not do bad itself raising more than $60 million, which was a big jump upward from April.

Obama's average donation was much smaller than that of the Romney campaign and consequently the president actually had about 250,000 more donors in May. As I repeatedly noted during the primaries in 2007 and 2008, the total number of donors is important.

Having a large number of donors usually means that the campaign will have more staying power when it comes to fundraising. Many wealthy people will max out on contribution limits in a single fundraising event. Although they can continue to donate to super PACs, they will no longer be able to give directly to the campaign.

Generally, the number of donations even in this sense will drop off. When many rich people give money, they expect some "face time" directly with the candidate.

Another important factor is that small donors are probably more likely to volunteer than the really deep pockets. In my experience, I have not seen any multi-millionaires much billionaires volunteering, at least not at the grassroots level. Yes, some will act as "bundlers," but small donors also pull in extra contributors just like themselves.

Basically, people power works in so many ways that it is just something to watch. While Romney and his super PACs will no doubt raise huge sums of cash, the Obama team should at least stay competitive if they do not come out on top at the end.

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