Sunday, November 30, 2008

Small Donor Myth?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The LA Times blog is reporting on a study that states that Obama's small donor base is a myth. It's an interesting read, but in an election year that was unlike any other, it dismisses some key facts.

The basis for the claim comes from the notion that roughly one quarter of all Obama funds came from small donors (a small donor being defined as someone who gives $200 or less). The study points out that, by way of comparison, George W. Bush had the same amount of small donors in 2004.

Yet the study also points out that though an unusually high percentage (49%) of Obama's funds came in discrete contributions of $200 or less, and that only those with cumulative contributions totaling $200 or less for the entire cycle were included in the definition of small donors.

This is intellectually dishonest. Because in defining a small donor this way, it disregards the enthusiasm that people have for Barack Obama, and thus does not factor in the people who could only afford to give a small amount but did so repeatedly. This enthusiasm is the same thing that saw record voter turnout and participation by all demographics around the country in 2008.

A more accurate reading might have been to look at the small donors as defined in the report, but also to look at the number of donors who reached the maxed out limit without giving the total sum at one time.

So it this a legitimate finding or is it simply a press grab by the Campaign Finance Institute? You be the judge.