The Campaign Spot


Obama Campaign: We Fell Behind on Fundraising Last Month

Last month, some folks scoffed when I wrote this:

To match his $750 million from the 2008 cycle, Obama would need to average $107 million for seven quarters. Obviously, it is possible that Obama can make up ground in the next few quarters. But to hit that hyped $1 billion number, Obama would need to raise a bit more than $142 million per quarter. As impressive as the $86 million figure is, it’s well below those markers.

They said that because Obama raised more in his later quarters in the 2008 cycle than he did in the earlier quarters, the same pattern was likely to emerge in the 2012 election cycle, and he would, indeed, make up ground.

Indeed, Obama could. But as I noted, “the first-quarter efforts collect the lowest-hanging fruit, the folks who were most eager to donate and just needed a formal campaign. Almost every campaign has some quarter that raises less than the previous one: The Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign raised less in their third quarter of fundraising than in their second, and less in their fifth than in their fourth. In 2008, Obama raised $59 million in his second quarter and then $21 million in his third quarter. He raised $133 million in his fifth quarter and then $104 million in his sixth quarter. Someone will probably also argue that Obama is doing much better than in the 2008 cycle, because his $86 million in his first quarter this time is way more than the $26 million that he raised in his first quarter last time. This, of course, makes perfect sense if you think the fundraising apparatus and environment of an incumbent president of the United States with a heavy fundraising schedule is on par with a relatively lesser-known long-shot junior senator from Illinois with a funny name.”

I mention all of this because the word is this morning that Obama’s second quarter total… is probably going to be lower:

President Barack Obama’s campaign expects to raise tens of millions of dollars less this summer than it did in the spring because negotiations over the nation’s debt limit forced Obama to cancel several fundraisers.

Obama’s campaign said Wednesday it canceled or postponed 10 fundraisers involving the president, Vice President Joe Biden and White House chief of staff Bill Daley in the past month because of the debt talks, scrubbing events in California, New York and elsewhere.

… “We’re going to raise significantly less in the third quarter than we did in the second quarter,” said Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager. “We will not be able to replace all of these events just because of his busy schedule. We always knew that he had his job and we had to do this around his schedule, and the truth is we just have to deal with canceling a month’s worth of events.”

But let’s face it, the past month of effort has been worth it for the president, because he began July with a 47.3/46.4 split on job approval/disapproval in the RealClearPolitics average and now he’s at a 45/49.3 split. Oh, wait, that’s a steady decrease. No wonder Obama prefers to spend more time doing fundraisers.


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