Obama would seem to have an edge in fundraising, unless the economy tanks so much that the under $200-donation crowd can’t afford to contribute anymore.
Obama’s campaign spent significant resources on physical offices in battleground states. But those efforts often came to follow the informal infrastructure that his supporters built ahead of time by finding each other through my.barackobama.com and coordinating off-line to campaign for their candidate.
The most obvious area in which it led was online fund-raising. Just under half its record-level of $265 million raised so far came from donations of $200 or less, much of which flowed to the campaign through the internet. The Clinton campaign ended up tweaking its fund-raising approach after Obama’s initial successes and began asking supporters for smaller amounts of money in online fund-raising drives following each primary victory.
In contrast to Obama’s campaign, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain has raised only $90.5 million during the same 2007 and 2008 period. Just over a third of his donations came from the $200-and-under crowd. Forty-two percent of it came through contributions at the maximum $2,000 level. For Obama, just under a quarter of his donations came from $2,000-level donations.
Hopefully, for all our sakes, that doesn’t happen.