The Corner

Donors Abandoning Obama?

News reports frequently remind us there are some Republicans who aren’t enthusiastic about Mitt Romney (some wags joked the GOP slogan could be “I’m Mild about Mitt”).

But what about Barack Obama? The candidate of “hope and change” now has a sour economy of his own and is falling back on a “fear and loathing” strategy to eke out a second term. Many liberals aren’t impressed, but the media hasn’t focused on them.

Until now. Ben Smith of BuzzFeed has looked at the 550,000 people who gave Obama more than $200 in 2008 and whose names are a matter of public record. Through computer crosschecking, he found that 88 percent of them have not yet given that amount of money to Team Obama in this campaign cycle:

Interviews with dozens of those drop-off donors reveal the stories of Democrats who still plan to pull the lever for the president, but whose support has gone from fervent to lukewarm, or whose economic circumstances have left them without money to spare. The interviews and the data are the substance of an ‘enthusiasm gap’ spurred by the distance between the promise of the campaign and the reality of governing, one that has begun to deepen Democratic gloom about this November’s election.

BuzzFeed found some interesting quotes from disillusioned Obama backers. “I’m looking around here for leadership, and it didn’t happen,” says Elizabeth Hollins of Williamsburg, Va., who together with her husband gave $2,450 to Obama in 2008. “We are waiting to see more of the leadership we had hoped for before we fork over all of our money.”

The Obama campaign insists it is early in the campaign season and that they expect many of the donors to come aboard. But you’d think he would be doing better given the golden list of donors he built up in 2008. Team Obama began fundraising in earnest last year and already had a list of 3.95 million donors and an e-mail list of 10 million names.

Even so, the campaign is clearly having trouble meeting its fundraising targets — which is one reason the president is madly dashing from city to city attending several events a night to raise the necessary campaign scratch. 

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