Fundraising for Barack Obama and the Democrats tailed off by almost 20% in the third quarter, according to news reports on the combined haul for the DNC and Obama 2012 campaigns.  They raised a total of $70 million combined, about 19% less than Q2’s $86 million.  Reuters gives it a sunny spin:

President Barack Obama and theDemocratic National Committee raised more than $70 million from July to September for his re-election bid, the campaign said on Thursday, topping a $55 million target.

The campaign contribution report shows that Obama’s money train did not stall in the third quarter, despite protracted summer debt talks and complaints from his base that he lacks the fervor to push a Democratic agenda.

Obama raised a record $745 million in cash during the 2008 campaign, and his advisers want to raise even more for 2012.

A dropoff of 19% doesn’t mean a “stall,” but it’s hardly an indication of continuing momentum, either.  The topline number is still impressive, but the significant reduction could mean that Obama and the DNC are having trouble finding new donors or have tapped out the old donors to a larger extent than first thought.

Reuters compares Obama’s 2008 haul to this topline result, but that’s comparing apples and oranges.  The $745 million figure was for Obama alone in 2008, not combined with the DNC.  How is Obama doing for himself this time around?  According to ABC, he’s still trailing George W. Bush’s efforts in 2004, just as he did in Q2:

Obama for America brought in $42.8 million, while the DNC banked $23.7 million, a campaign official told ABC News.  The figures include transfers from the Obama Victory Fund, a joint account that funnels money to both groups.

All 17 fundraisers Obama attended during the quarter supported the fund, with the first $5,000 of an individual’s contribution going to the Obama Campaign and the rest, up to $30,800, going to the DNC. …

While Obama did not best George W. Bush’s record $50.1 million raised in the same period in 2003, he demonstrated that he retains a solid and growing base of grassroots financial support.

Obama raised $47 million for his campaign in Q2, so he dropped a little off the pace in Q3.  That averages out to $44.9 million, but let’s call it $45 million just to simplify the math.  Obama has three more quarters of fundraising in the primary season, which would mean that Obama is on pace to raise $225 million before next summer. That’s not bad, but it’s a long way from raising a billion dollars, or even $745 million.

Again, $70 million is a pretty decent fundraising quarter, but it’s not that great, considering the goals in place for the long campaign.  Maybe Obama plans on giving his campaign some energy subsidies down the road.