Jul
13
2011

Obama’s bad fundraising quarter.

Yes, I can read.  I can count and use a spreadsheet, too.  That’s why I’m saying it was a bad quarter.

Executive summary: Obama for America’s (OfA) reported fundraising total for the second quarter is significantly less than what it needed to be in order to hit OfA’s stated ultimate fundraising goals for 2012 – as in, one half to one-third of what they need.  And OfA is (grimly) aware of this, which is why they significantly downplayed their fundraising totals in their latest video, despite the fact that in raw terms the amount raised by OfA (47 million) looked highly respectable.  Which they were: just not respectable enough.

First off, all numbers here assume a raw total of forty seven million, which is what is being reported in the media* as Obama for America’s take (as the below should make clear the DNC’s numbers should not be taken into consideration when assessing the President’s fundraising goal**).  Now that this has been noted… OK, let’s walk through some numbers, here.  Below the fold is a chart showing the amount of money that Obama for America raised in the 2008 election cycle.  The links are all to official reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission, so I certainly hope that they’re accurate:

Raised
1st $  25,791,503
2nd $  33,103,605
3rd $  21,381,425
4th $  23,526,004
Jan $  36,826,706
Feb $  56,782,851
Mar $  42,857,773
April $  31,922,905
May $  23,400,729
Jun $  54,284,539
Jul $  51,449,094
Aug $  68,838,094
Sep $ 153,148,585
Pre $  39,026,984
Post $ 110,808,267
$ 773,149,065

Note: those totals are just for Obama for America.  That’s completely independent of whatever the DNC did, and it comes to almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in twenty-two months.  Originally, the campaign had made the fairly grandiose claim that they were going to hit a billion dollars this go-round; they’ve since scaled it back to seven hundred fifty million (and hoped that nobody would notice that this actually represents less money than they collected in 2008).  One billion (or seven hundred fifty million) over twenty-two months (not twenty-three: the election will be at the beginning of November, remember?) works out to OfA needing to bring in just over one hundred thirty-six million (or almost one hundred three million) per quarter, or just under forty-five and a half million (or thirty million) per month.

Now here’s the second set of numbers: actual fundraising to date.

Raised Pro-Rated % Pro-Rated %
1st $  2,330,708 $ 136,363,636 1.71% $ 102,272,727 2.28%
2nd $47,000,000 $ 136,363,636 34.47% $ 102,272,727 45.96%

‘Pro-Rated’ is the raw quarterly amount needed to hit either fundraising goal; ‘%’ is what percentage of the raw quarterly goal the campaign actually hit.  As you can see, the Obama campaign had a rotten first quarter… which was excusable; while they started extremely early for an incumbent, they’re  starting late by the standards of the 2008 election cycle.  They still need to make that money up somehow*** if they want to hit either target number, but that’s their problem, not mine.  Nobody forced them to pick the more media-friendly goal of an absolute total number over the more realistic one of ‘replicating the flow of the last campaign cycle.’

At any rate, the second quarter is more representative, in a lot of ways.  Note that OfA did do better in 2Q 2011 than it did in 2Q 2007… but in terms of where they needed to be to keep on track with hitting their goal they got at best less than one half of what they promised, and at worst about one third.  Can they make it up, later?  Sure!  – But the Obama campaign is not happy about this number… which is why they spent most of this Jim Messina OfA video not talking about their actual fundraising numbers.  When a second quarter fundraising report doesn’t bring up a hard number until three and a half minutes into a four and three quarters video, you can safely assume that somebody in Obama’s campaign has a spreadsheet on his or her workstation that looks a heck of a lot like the one I used to write this post.

Admittedly, I’m probably happier to see mine.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*As usual, Jim Geraghty and I are having a race to see who can get a similar thought up first.  He won this one.

**If people would like to include those numbers, consider this: if Obama’s one billion/seven hundred fifty million fundraising goal is supposed to include the DNC’s total when 2008′s baseline did not, then we have another story here.  One with the title “Democrats admit failure to recreate 2008 magic.”

***An outside observer might be tempted at this point to note that I am perhaps unfairly making the assumption that the OfA campaign needs to hit the same fixed fundraising number every quarter/month; after all, there’s an ebb and flow to the campaign cycle.  So let’s look at that…  OK, crunching the numbers it looks like OfA picked up about 13.43% of its fundraising totals in the first year (just under one hundred four million).  Pro-rate that to the new seven hundred fifty million goal, comes out to one hundred and three quarters million; divide that in half, comes out to fifty million and change… nope, OfA is still under-performing, if barely.  And note that one of the assumptions there is that Barack Obama is somehow going to fully replicate the 2008 fundraising hysteria, which is not going to happen.  If it was going to happen, the President would not have started fundraising so extremely early for an incumbent.

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