So far, the focus of the campaign coverage has mainly settled on the big-but-not-spectacular numbers from Team Obama. Those compare favorably to the fundraising activity of Obama’s potential rivals in the Republican primary — but only when considered individually. Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics blog looks at aggregate fundraising for Republicans, especially in swing states, and discovers that Obama might find himself in serious trouble once the GOP settles on a nominee:
Early fundraising for the GOP field signals that the Republican Party has already made inroads in several of these states – notching more contributions than the president in large donor money in nearly a dozen of them.
A Smart Politics analysis of FEC data finds Republican presidential candidates have raised more large donor money ($200 or greater per individual) than Barack Obama in 11 states won by the President in 2008.
Almost all of these states will be considered battlegrounds next November: Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Virginia.
Overall, Obama received $116 million from these 11 states he carried in the ’08 cycle compared to $100 million for the entire Republican field, and raised more money than the Republicans in eight of them: Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Ohio.
In the current cycle, the GOP field has nearly doubled up on the president in these 11 states, raising $14.7 million compared to just $7.4 million for Obama.
Earlier today, I wrote about efforts by Democrats in Virginia to distance themselves from Obama, but Virginia had traditionally been a narrowly Republican state in presidential elections before 2008 anyway. This list contains a couple of surprises, chief among them my own state of Minnesota. This state last went for a Republican President in 1972; it’s the only state not to have voted for Ronald Reagan at least once. Not only do we make the list of states giving more to Republicans, we actually come in third, with a +$179 per-1000-people advantage for Republicans over Obama’s campaign.
The top state is another surprise. Connecticut backed Obama by more than 2o points in 2008, went for John Kerry by 10 over George Bush in 2004, and Al Gore by 17 in 2000. Right now, despite the fractured Republican race and the relatively small number of Republicans in the Nutmeg State, the aggregated GOP per-1000 advantage is at +$204. Republicans also lead in Obama 2008 states like Colorado and New Hampshire by smaller margins. Meanwhile, Obama only leads in one state where he lost in 2008 — Montana, where he has a four-dollar advantage.
Going beyond the top eleven states doesn’t reverse the Republican trend, either:
Republican inroads can also be seen in that “Obama states” make up 12 of the Top 20 spots for large donor per capita giving in the GOP presidential field, whereas no state won by John McCain appears on the president’s Top 20 per capita list in giving to his reelection campaign.
Bear in mind that these are aggregate numbers from separate and unequally organized campaigns, not a national effort by Republicans. Obama should really be dominating the fundraising, especially in states he won in 2008, where one would presume he would concentrate his efforts in order to hold his gains — especially swing states like Florida and Ohio.
This analysis strongly suggests that Obama will find it difficult to raise money like he did in 2008, let alone enough to raise a billion dollars as his campaign has promised. It also suggests that Obama’s destruction of the public-financing system in 2008 might end up putting him at a big disadvantage when Republicans unite behind one campaign — and that the earlier that unity occurs, the sooner Obama will find himself trailing in the money race.