The 2012 Money Race: Romney Relies on Big Donors, While Obama Taps the Grassroots

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Mitt Romney, left, and Barack Obama

Mitt Romney is struggling to get everyday people to give small amounts to his campaign. For Barack Obama, the problem is attracting big bucks from wealthy donors.

Romney’s small-dollar fundraising continues to trail the efforts of John McCain at this point in the 2008 campaign, despite a populist fundraising boom from last month’s Supreme Court decision on Obama’s health-care law. Obama, meanwhile, is depending more heavily on small-dollar donations, and raising more, than he did in his record-breaking 2008 campaign. But he is attracting far fewer donors who give the legal maximum to his campaign than he did at this point in 2008.

A new report by the Campaign Finance Institute illustrates how the two candidates are raking in cash from radically different sources. Through the end of June, Romney had raised $22.4 million in aggregate donations of less than $200 per donor, or 15% of his total haul. By comparison, John McCain had raised $25.9 million from donors who gave less than $200, or 21% of his total haul, at the same point in 2008. But in total, Romney has raised $155.3 million, well ahead of the $144.1 million that McCain had raised at this point, largely by attracting more donors who give the maximum amount of $2,500 to his campaign. “Small donors are typically people who are pretty excited,” explains institute executive director Michael Malbin, the author of the report. “The Romney campaign has been very slow in exciting a mass base.”

(MORE: Romney’s Big Fundraising Month and the Culture of Political Giving)

Romney’s struggles come in a political environment that is significantly improved for Republicans from 2008, and despite a campaign apparatus that is better organized and more stable than the one McCain had at this point four years ago. A recent poll by Gallup found that 51% of Republicans say they are more excited than usual for the coming election, up from 35% at the same point in 2008. At the same time, the share of excited Democrats has plunged from 61% to 31%.

The Obama campaign’s small-dollar fundraising operation has not been hurt by that drop in enthusiasm, at least in comparison with 2008. He has raised $112 million from under-$200 donors, compared to $93.6 million at this point in 2008. But enthusiasm among well-heeled donors is another matter. At this point in the last election, Obama had raised $87.3 million from donors who had given the legal limit, 27% of his total haul. This year, Obama has only raised $47 million in maxed-out donations, or 16% of his total.

(PHOTOS: Inside Barack Obama’s World)

So which candidate has more to worry about? It’s hard to say at this point. Romney’s superior ability to attract donors able to part with $2,500 will be a major asset, given the fact that changes in campaign finance laws allow those same donors to write even bigger checks to outside groups like super PACs, which can run ads in support of Romney’s election. By contrast, Obama’s broad support among l0w-dollar donors could suggest an extensive network of motivated backers who may give the President a grassroots advantage in organizing.

If Romney is able to win the election without much small-dollar success, his victory could call into question the viability of the online fundraising model that Obama pioneered in 2008. It is also possible that he finds a way to tap into the broader public sentiment over the coming months. Donations from people who had given less than $200 nearly doubled from $4.1 million in May to $9.9 million in June, helped in part by the Supreme Court decision upholding Obama’s health-care reform, which the campaign effectively turned into rallying cries. In the coming weeks, Romney is expected to announce his Vice Presidential nominee, providing both campaigns with another news peg for raising money in small amounts.

MORE: How an Obama-Romney Election Battle Would Pit Small Donors Against Large

76 comments
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James
James

my best

friend's step-aunt makes $60/hour on the internet. She has been out of a

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Swag
Swag

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James
James

my

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without a job for five months but last month her paycheck was $14893

just working on the internet for a few hours. Read more on this site

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Richard Giles
Richard Giles

“Super Rich Hide Trillions” was the headline on the article; “$21,000,000,000,000 stashed in 80 Tax Havens” and “an amount equal to the economy of Japan and the US combined” were the status lines.  Now people don’t fault the super rich for having the money or for enjoying it but it is easy to see how that amount of money corrupts all who come in contact with them, with many bowing to their desires just to get any consideration and then there is a lot to find fault with.  “Places with no or nominal taxes and little if any reporting requirements” describes the havens they use to hide and protect their wealth, allowing them to avoid the responsibility of the taxes that everyone else pays.

One example of a problem that is crystal clear and extremely costly to the majority is the politicians who are owned and controlled by these super-rich, as is evidenced in the mega-millions given to support these politicians and then the politicians’ actual “puppet” performances focused on the super-rich’s interests, while together they aggressively work at conning the people, manipulating public opinion and simply neglecting the majority, just taking them for granted as “pawns” to be used and abused.  They are cocky confident in their power, influence and money being able to propagandize and deceive and have become emboldened by past successes with the manipulation of the “conservative” Christian, the Swift-boat propaganda, the Tea Party movement and the pouring into Wisconsin of mega-millions during that state’s recent recall election; all of it being well designed, well directed and well funded efforts to dupe and move people in the same single direction.  No where in any of it are the people’s interests ever sincerely considered, as their only real criteria is to feed the 1%’s insatiable “more” (never enough) appetite; their positions and history completely document all of it when the propaganda and deception are put aside.

There is recourse available, as no matter what, their success is dependent on having the voters perform as they want, on their being able to control the people, to deceive the voters and have them vote to support the interests of “the money”.   Should the majority be able to recognize the deception in process, reject the propaganda insultingly being pushed and instead just firmly refuse to be used and abused, completely rejecting the “puppet” candidates, then “the money” will not have prevailed and their control over the politicians will be frustrated.  Can the people be that rational and objective with their emotions checked so they can’t be used to excite and use them or will “the money” once again prevail and we will be returned to “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, with those drastic costs to the majority and with the 1% gaining more while the 99% continually loose?

Pete Holmes
Pete Holmes

Let's see if I can sum up some of the thinking from the right:

"Obama has grassroots fundraising?  What about Soros?!"

"Global warning can't be real, it was cold today!"

"You can't stop all gun violence so a law that only reduces gun violence is worthless!"

"All alternative energies are scams, look at Solyndra!"

etc, etc, etc...

ratamacue76
ratamacue76

So, you have to be able to afford a $40,000 dollar a plate dinner to be considered grassroots now? hmmm interesting

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney = horses are more important, must be well fed. Elevators for my Jaguar.

'you people' eat cake. Marie Antonneette. = Ann Romney.

ChowT
ChowT

The top 1% is always whining and complaining how bad it is.

How about switching places with the 99%?

dunedweller
dunedweller

$112,000,000 divided by $200 = 56,000 votes

$155,300,000 divided by $2,500 = 6,212 votes

James
James

what

Marjorie answered I'm surprised that anybody can earn $5733 in a few

weeks on the computer. did you look at this website http://www.LazyCash49.com

BSF1
BSF1

Too bad the election results will depend on who has the most money to spend.  The founding fathers, who thought public service was a privilege, not a prize, must be rolling in their graves.

filmnoia
filmnoia

They are rolling in their graves as well for what happened in Aurora, CO last week. They never envisioned anything like a semi automatic being able to be bought by any malcontent or street crazy, and  then having people justify it under the 2nd amendment.

SmilingSmartBlonde
SmilingSmartBlonde

Michael Scherer

Raising money is not always a measure of success. Some voters never contribute a dime and they still vote for a candidate.

Let's not underestimate the power of the broad support among l0w-dollar donors and let's recognize that some voters don't contribute a cent to the campaigns.

 

BSF1
BSF1

Too bad the election results will be determined by who has the most money to spend.  Our founding fathers, who thought public service was a privilege, not a prize, are probably rolling in their graves.

danton steele
danton steele

ahh- ahh refreshing...so I haven't heard Shannon Sharpes' voice in a while and as an Austinite, the Bah doom Shoop drum ending is pretty wild also.

By now, I have gotten my Mormon inclusion statement in, and have gone to Western Union in as many times as I have gotten to the Day labor synagogue...no dice. And while ther are some women doing photo shots outside, I have asked myself...am I acting like a tall lady? Am I supposed to be more like Slim Shady?After that, I can rewind and remind myself of the grandiose thing i put into The sacbee pages....wasting time, thinking, Am I avoiding a country compilation on YOUTUBE?

RomneyRyan2012
RomneyRyan2012

Breaking News from the "Obama Reelection Team, Media Division":

-Time is now the only Obama-poodle weekly newsmagazine to appear in print!

-Billionaire thief and Obama buddy Jon Corzine is now part of the "grassroots"..all that 'bundling' of huge contributions into small pieces pays off with fawning media coverage of the "little people"  ...

Steve0T
Steve0T

 LOL, Gov. Ultra S. for VP?? A sweet dream for  Presi. BO's  team. ;-)

Tom Irish
Tom Irish

George Soros is grassroots?   I think Mr. Obama has some splaining to do Lucy.

Dan5404
Dan5404

Rich people running American elections, or American voters kicking out the obstructionists so the president won't be blocked over and over again by the minority extremists.  Seems a simple choice to me.

ChowT
ChowT

Gopers = obstructions, destructions.

JoseTheWrangler
JoseTheWrangler

Ever notice that whenever there are well-founded factual reports that show that Republicans in general or Romney in particular are funded by the rich and favoring the rich, the Right has nothing to say except for empty personal attacks, emotional rhetoric, or totally unfounded attacks on the sources cited in the story?  The ironic thing is that statistically it's highly likely that the writers of the emotional responses are the very people who have been done dirtiest by the Republicans: less-educated blue-collar white guys who have been tricked into believing that if only that dirty old Government got off their backs they too would be rich.  You're being suckered, guys!  The Republicans think you're too stupid or too ignorant catch them at their game, but you're not.  Do some research.  Go look up Lee Atwater and the Southern Strategy on Google.

ChowT
ChowT

Goper's mentality.