Obama Outraises Top Three Republicans
A front-page story in today’s WaPo puts the fundraising totals announced earlier this week into sharper focus:
Campaign contributors to the 2008 presidential candidates heavily favored Democrats in the three-month period that ended Saturday, giving three dollars to the party’s leading contenders for every two dollars they gave to the top Republican candidates.
Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s 258,000 contributors since January exceed the combined number of donors of former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), according to estimates provided by the campaigns.
This just further highlights Obama’s extraordinary success in fundraising, especially given that Hillary Clinton is the clear frontrunner and that donors face serious risks in alienating her. I’m less sure what it says about the Republican field.
The fundraising results continued a striking reversal of fortunes for Democratic presidential hopefuls, who have often labored with less money than their Republican counterparts.
“Clearly, that’s a reflection on the war and a reflection of the past,” said Alex Castellanos, Romney’s media consultant. “There’s a lot of pent-up disappointment in the Republican Party on issues like spending. It’s not just the administration, being unable to keep its promises . . . since we’re the guys in charge, we pay a price for that.”
That’s almost surely right. The immigration bill in particular has angered the base. The “Amnesty Bill = No $$$” card a reader sent Michelle Malkin likely reflected a sentiment shared by many.
At the same time, this is the primaries and, despite it seeming that the race has been going on forever, it’s still very early in the process. The Democratic race seems to have already narrowed to two candidates and, by most indications, the base seems reasonably happy with one or the other. And there’s always Al Gore if the wheels fall off of the Clinton or Obama bandwagons. By contrast, the Republican field is much wider open, with early frontrunner John McCain seemingly on the verge of implosion and a search for “someone else” — seemingly focusing on Fred Thompson at the moment — still ongoing.
It stands to reason, then, that money would be flowing to the Democrats and not to the Republicans. People satisfied with the alternatives tend to get excited, whereas those still playing the field are more likely to hold back.
If the Republican race narrows to Rudy Giuliani and Thompson, as appears likely (although I still wouldn’t bet on that) then the money will pour in from those with a strong preference for one or the other. More importantly, when the nominees of the two parties become inevitable, and it comes down to Clinton-Giuliani or Clinton-Thompson or whatever, the Republican base will get energized to ensure that Clinton, Obama, Gore, or whomever the Democrats nominate won’t get elected.
I’m not willing to make too many predictions about 2008 at this early stage of the game. Of, this, however, I’m confident: Raising enough money won’t be an obstacle to either party’s nominee.
Hat tip: Political Wire