Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Monday, March 22, 2004

Who has the fundraising edge?

An excellent web site dealing with political fund raising is FundRace 2004 - it is a must see.

This page shows the current status of fundraising between Pres. Bush and Kerry. It is interesting that of the city totals represented, Kerry/Democrats are getting their greatest levels of contributions from Boston, New York, Washington, D.C., L.A. and San Fran - the rest of the country indicates that Republicans are giving more money to Bush than the Democrats are to their candidates.

This list shows that Pres. Bush is stomping Kerry in terms of number of zip codes represented by contributions. Edwards and Clark both received contributions from more zip codes than Kerry did last quarter.

Pres. Bush received donations from 11,539 zip codes last quarter and 7,933 so far this current quarter. On the other hand, Kerry had donations from 3,516 zip codes last quarter and 3,998 so far this quarter.

Two main reasons? Kerry's support is concentrated in the big cities on the left and right coasts (with Chicago thrown in for good masure). Kerry might be able to win the electoral college with these cities (more correctly the states in which they reside) but this would seem to be a risky play (ask Al Gore). Kerry has only recently beaten his primary opponents and therefore might rival Pres. Bush eventually. However, only Howard Dean among the Democrats garnered donations from more than 8,000 zip codes this or the previous quarter. Perhaps if all contributors to Dean, et al. contribute to Kerry they might expect to get something close to Dean's 8,000 zip codes.

Lack of widespread support represented by dollar contributions probably doesn't bode well for Kerry and the Democrats. Economists have long recognized that talk is cheap and that those who are willing to "put their money where their mouth is" are probably more sincere in action. In this context, those who might vote may not contribute to their candidate of choice. However, those that contribute are probably more likely to vote for their candidate.

Kerry runs the risk of having plenty of lip-service support but not enough arms pulling levers in November. Many look at fund raising as an arms race, and in many ways that is the case, but fund raising also sends clear signals about where support is strong and broadbased - currently this is more clearly the case with Bush.

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