President Trump might be falling behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in nationwide favorability polls, but the president is leading another crucial area: fundraising.
In addition to having more funds on-hand than his opponent, the president is also raking in most of his funds directly from people, rather than businesses or super PACs, in the form of small-dollar donations.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports: “Biden lags behind Trump in several key fundraising benchmarks, including small-dollar contributions.”
From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Small-dollar donations — defined as $200 or less — are important to both candidates and voters, according to Eleanor Powell, a political science professor at UW-Madison whose research focuses on the influence of money in politics.
“You can think of small-dollar donors as sort of small ‘d’ democratizing,” Powell said. “That there’s a way for people to have a voice in the system even if they don’t have the wealth to make the hundred million-dollar contributions, as most people don’t.”
She said that clearly identifying supporters allows campaigns to use their resources to connect with voters they don’t know anything about, rather than focusing on a voter who is already backing them.
“For the campaigns, it’s incredibly valuable to know who their passionate supporters are,” Powell said, adding that online fundraising is driving this data collection for campaigns.
According to the report, the Center for Responsive Politics has estimated 64 percent of Trump’s donations have come in the form of small-dollar donations, “totaling $174 million through April.”
Conversely, Biden has only raised $69 million from small-dollar donations, “or 39 percent of his fundraising total.”
Trump campaign spokeswoman Anna Kelly described the figures as “dominating” for Trump.
“President Trump dominates in small-dollar fundraising because his message resonates with everyday Americans,” she said.
American Enterprise Insititute conservative scholar Norm Ornstein explained the importance of small-dollar donations but cautioned against using them as a “sure-fire path to victory,” the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
“If you can raise a sizable sum of money in small donations it becomes an indicator of whether you have a level of excitement and a breadth of support,” he said.
“Bernie Sanders … did extremely well with small donors, but his ceiling of support wasn’t enough for him to be able to break through with the majority necessary,” Ornstein continued. “So, it doesn’t predict outcomes. But it gives you a sense; it does become a kind of barometer.”