GOP Winning Money Race, Losing in Polls

Despite–or perhaps because of–a steady stream of polls showing the Republicans losing large numbers of seats in three weeks, the RNC continues to beat the DNC in the fundraising battle.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) reported raising $14.4 million in September, bringing the national GOP political organization’s overall receipts this campaign cycle to just less than $200 million, according to campaign finance documents filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) took in $5.7 million last month and has taken in a total of $108.4 million for the cycle — or just more than half the RNC’s $199.5 million.

The RNC has outraised the DNC every month during this election cycle, and Republican strategists hope that fundraising edge will help them blunt a very determined Democratic campaign to win control of one or both chambers of Congress in a national political environment that is anti-Republican.

With the GOP having a decisive advantage in both cash flow and money on hand, that’s a distinct possibility. Ads, especially negative ones, can be quite helpful in swaying indecisive voters. Still, the clock is winding down fast.

FILED UNDER: 2006 Election, Congress, Environment, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. To understand the whole story, you need to look at the house, senate and national party fund raising. I think the DNC numbers say more about Dean than anything else.

  2. Brian says:

    In order to make a judgement about Dean, context is needed. Historically, what do these numbers look like?

  3. Brian,

    Good question. I found data for 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006. They didn’t have data for earlier cycles (not sure why).

    Bottom line is the DNC is having its lowest fund raising year in all four cycles compared to the RNC (2006 54%, 2004 79%, 2002 57%, 2000 69%).
    Even more telling is that is is having a poor year compared to the DCCC (dem house committee) or DSCC (dem senate committee). The DSCC is having its best fund raising year compared to the RSCC (2006 128%, 2004 112%, 2002 114%, 2000 108%). The DCCC is having its second best year vs RCCC (2006 69%, 2004 50%, 2002 49%, 2000 73%).

    Looking at DNC vs DCCC or DSCC it is a pretty poor year. DNC vs DCCC 2006 107%, 2004 335%, 2002 158%, 2000 248%. DNC vs DSCC 2006 114%, 2004 351%, 2002 113%, 2000 250%.

    So what does this all mean. Compared to its republican counterparts it is having a terrible year and compared to the other two big dem committees it is having a terrible year. So for some reason the DNC headed by Dean isn’t pulling in the big bucks compared to the GOP or other Dems.

  4. Brian says:


    First-off, nice work on finding the data! Two things to note. First is the difference between presidential and non-presidential cycles. As you said, the data does not go back any farther, so there isn’t much to compare to. That said, the 2006 fundraising isn’t that out of line with the 2002 fundraising (54% vs. 57% compared to the RNC, as you noted). The same can be said about the comparison between the DNC and the DCCC or DSCC. Second is the soft money issue for Democrats. In 2002, 58% of the DNC fundraising was from soft money, compared to 42% for the RNC. In comparison to hard money figures, 2006 isn’t so bad for the DNC.

    All this said, I really have no idea what affect Howard Dean has on fundraising. The initial data doesn’t look so promising, but I just don’t think we have enough data to compare. The data from the 2008 cycle will be very interesting.

  5. Brian,

    We will need to look at 2010 before we get another mid-term data point. After a little more digging, the FEC has numbers going back to 92, but the 96 and 98 number format won’t load into my excel.

    I think you need to look at the numbers a little more because you missed a point. While a 54% vs 57% isn’t enough of a difference to be conclusive, look at how the DCCC and DSCC is doing. The DSCC vs RSCC is up 14 points compared to 2002. The DCCC vs RCCC is up 20 points compared to 2002. So two out of three democratic national committees are up on their fund raising by substantial amounts. This indicates the fund raising environment is favorable to the democrats. But the DNC is down. If you look at how the DNC is raising money vs the DCCC and DSCC, you come up with the DNS being 51 points behind the DCCC and the 1 point ahead of the DSCC in 2002.

    I think the DSCC strong showing against the RSCC reflects the poor recruitment on the part of the GOP (we could easily have made 5 to 7 more races competitive with the right recruitment).

    My prediction (in all my partisan glory) is the GOP holds majorities in both chambers. Democrats will look at elections that the GOP win despite going into the election with a 1 to 5 point lead and either indulge in conspiracy theories or recognize that the GOP ground game really is better than the democratic ground game. And those that notice the impact of the ground game are going to come back to the question of the value of Dean as party chair (since one of his supposed strengths was in raising money) and Dean’s 50 state decision which was popular with red state chairs, but came at a time that it robbed the dems from spending to improve their ground game.