When first I heard that Hillary Clinton’s campaign forecast that it would only be raising about $27 million for the second quarter of 2007 (April through June), I assumed the former First Lady’s people (masters of media manipulation) were lowballing its fundraising estimates so they could say, when they released the final number, that they had exceeded expectations.
Instead, she only raised $21 million for the primaries, considerably below Senator Barack Obama’s take of $31 million (for the primary campaign). Before Mrs. Clinton campaign released her take, the New York Times reported, “If her estimate that she raised ‘in the range of $27 million’ proves correct, Mr. Obama will have outpaced her for a second consecutive quarter in money that can be spent in primaries to win the nomination”
Obama outraised her by $10 million (for the primaries). And he doesn’t have a former President doing fundraisers for her. That former President, Mrs. Clinton’s husband, being quite possibly the most popular living politician among Democrats.
I wonder how much less would she have raised had her husband not been headlining events for her.
That Obama did so well suggests there is a lot of enthusiasm for his candidacy (confirmed, in part, by my conversations with some of his supporters)–or perhaps it’s many Democrats supporting fear Hillary couldn’t win a general election. They are looking for a charismatic alternative to the bland (non-native) New Yorker.
While Mrs. Clinton does lead the polls for the Democratic nomination (and even leads many head-to-head matchups for the fall campaign), the fundraising totals suggests that Democrats may not be all that enthusiastic about their frontrunner.
UPDATE: As I read more information about the fundraising totals for the second quarter, I find more examples to support my notion that there is a lack of enthusiasm for Mrs. Clinton. Almost as if she is the establishment candidate. And big donors are supporting her because it’s “her turn,” much like the previous GOP notion of picking a presidential nominee.
Not only did Senator Obama outraise his New York colleague, even raising more money that is allocated for the primaries than she raised for the primaries and general election campaign combined, but he also had a broader base of donors. Given this base, we can safely assume that a fair number of them did not contribute the maximum allowed by federal law, indicating that he may be able to build on his fundraising totals merely by asking his past contributors to pony up a little more. But, Mrs. Clinton will not be able to go back to those who have already contributed the max.*
Having garnered “contributions from over 154,000 donors in the second quarter, bringing his total to 258,000 donors this year,” thus having had 104,000 donors in the first quarter, compared to 60,000 for Mrs. Clinton. New York’s junior Senator “has yet to release how many donors contributed to her campaign in the second quarter.”
It does seem there is more enthusiasm for Obama. And it seems that rich establishment Democrats are giving the maximum to Mrs. Clinton—or just paying for the chance to meet her more charismatic husband.
* One reporter said as much, “Obama’s focus on using the Internet and other venues to attract a greater pool of smaller donors who can keep giving puts him in position to keep beating Clinton in fund-raising battles. Clinton has a far higher percentage of supporters who have already given the maximum amount to her for the election.”