The Plank

Just How Big Are Obama's Small Donors?


David Brooks has a column today pooh-poohing Obama's contention that, as Brooks describes it, his fundraising success reflects "a spontaneous movement of small-money enthusiasts who cohered around himself." Andrew Sullivan responds that the fact that about 45 percent of Obama's money comes from donations of $200 or less is actually a huge deal, asking:

What percentage of Bush's campaign dollars were from donors who gave $200 or less?" 

Actually, more than I would have thought. According to an analysis (PDF) by Joseph Graf, 31 percent of Bush's money in 2004 came from donations of $200 or less (compared to 16 percent in 2000). Kerry, meanwhile, raised 37 percent of his money in 2004 from small donors (as compared to 20 percent for Gore in 2000). So, while Obama is obviously doing much better with small donors than previous presidential candidates, it's not by the order of magnitude I'd assumed.

--Jason Zengerle 

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