I’ve been meaning to dig into this in my nonexistent spare time. Meet “The Small-Donor Fallacy“
As of April 30, the Obama campaign had collected more than $120 million in contributions of $200 or less. In April alone, the latest month for which data are available, Obama raised more than $31 million, about 65 percent of which came from contributions of $200 or less. This seems good for democracy — but it may not be as good as we think.
Despite the importance of small donors, both Obama and Republican Sen. John McCain are still taking lots of big donations from wealthy special interests. In fact, when the nominating system as a whole is studied over time, the evidence suggests that the role of big donors will turn out to be growing, not shrinking.
Through March, small donations amounted to 39 percent of the combined fundraising of Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. But over a comparable period four years ago, such contributions made up an even greater share (42 percent) of the fundraising of the two leading Democratic contenders, Sen. John Kerry and former Vermont governor Howard Dean. On the GOP side, small donors were much more important for McCain in 2007 than they were for George W. Bush in 2003. But for most of last year McCain was not the front-runner, and his campaign was famously broke. Now that he is the presumptive nominee, big donors are his bread and butter.
Read the whole thing. And recall that Obama has been counting the purchasers of keychains and bumper stickers as “donors”, which was what made me wonder if he had a zillion keychain buyers, a million $100 donors, and ten or fifteen stupendously powerful bundlers.
Nice work, Prof. Mandle.