Monday, July 21, 2008

The Obama Fundraising Phenomenon

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Credit Creature for the title of this post -- and of subsequent OFP posts. As he noted a few day ago, Obama pulled in over $50 million in June, an astonishing amount for "a slow, post-primary, summer month when people are focused elsewhere."

As Le Politico is reporting today, the take was actually $54 million, not the $52 million originally reported. And, what's more, $25 million came in on a single day, the last day of the month:

His one-day haul represents nearly half of his monthly total and more than Republican rival John McCain generated for the entire month. During the month, McCain did not have a single day in which he raised a million dollars.

Overall, Obama raised $54 million for his campaign in June, compared to $22 million for McCain.

What is interesting, too, is that Obama's payroll expenses are much higher than McCain's -- $2.3 million to just $724,000.

And while the campaigns spent about the same amount of money in June -- Obama $26 million, McCain $27 million -- their spending priorities differed dramatically: "McCain... spent $16 million on advertising, compared to Obama's reported $5 million."

McCain is getting out his message, or what passes for a message, over the airwaves, but "Obama began building what his campaign says will be an unprecedented, nationwide ground operation." Given that Obama will have the money to conduct a massive advertising effort later in the campaign, it seems to me that this strategy will benefit Obama in the long run in terms of keeping supporters engaged and energized and actually getting out the vote in November. Which is what ultimately counts, after all.

But it's not all such great news, relatively speaking, for Obama. As TNR's Michael Crowley pointed out the other day, it's not so much Obama vs. McCain but "Obama + DNC vs. McCain + RNC, and in that calculus it's likely to be about even."

That is, while Obama is out-fundraising McCain, the RNC is doing extremely well -- well enough, compared to the DNC, to offset Obama's advantage. Le Politico again: "At the end of the month, Obama had $72 million in the bank, compared to McCain's $27 million. But the RNC reported having $54 million, which gave the Republicans a slight edge over Obama." The DNC "just $4 million in cash at the end of last month." (Which, again, is why Obama made the very sensible decision to stay out of the flawed public financing system, a system that advantages the Republicans.)

With the campaign heating up, Obama will need more months like June, and more days like the last day of June, if he is to compete on an even playing field with his opponents.

Labels: , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home