The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M Online?
by Chris Bowers, Thu Mar 08, 2007 at 05:38:20 PM EST
Now comes some evidence that I may have been absolutely correct. Check out these eye-popping leaks on current Democratic fundraising:
1. We're fairly certain that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) raised $12 million through the first of March. Banked means banked; pledges don't qualify. About half has come from online donations. If that figure is correct, and we have reason to believe that it is, Obama will probably amass northwards of $18 million this quarter, and we'll bet that he banks a little more than $13 million. Can Obama build a mid-to-small donor base in time to reap its rewards by the end of the 2nd quarter? Unclear.We already know that Edwards and Clinton have both raised more than $1M in online donations, and I expect both will probably raise another million online each by the end of March. However, if this report is true, and Obama has indeed raised half of his $12M online, he would already equal the peak of the Howard Dean campaign despite the Iowa caucuses still being ten months away. As Matt has repeatedly pointed out, he has not even done this through repeated asking--it seems fairly organic organizing done on his behalf.
2. Expect Sen. Hillary Clinton to transfer $11 million from her Senate campaign account into her presidential account. Informed donor-types believe that she's be able to raise more than $20 million in "new money," giving her a grand total of more than $32 million. One caveat: a not-small percentage of the new money has been shunted to Clinton's general election account and can't be used for the primaries. So expect Clinton to have roughly $16-20M cash on hand when she reports. How much Clinton raises in the second quarter will determine how large her fundraising network really is. Plenty of donors are hedging their bets.
3. Equivocal signs from Sen. John Edwards's camp. But a $12-15M quarter is reasonable. His second quarter matters more than his first quarter. He probably needs to raise just as much. His fundraising drop-off from Q1 to Q2 in 2003 hurt his campaign more than some of his advisers care to admit.
Expect Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd to do just fine.
I am repeatedly struck by just how much larger the 2008 campaign currently appears than the 2004 campaign. The crowds are bigger--including an unbelievable 20,000 people for Obama in Austin. The fundraising is much bigger--Edwards is going to put up numbers roughly equal to Howard Dean in Q3 or Q4, and look as though he is lagging. Already, in just about eight or nine weeks, there has probably been twelve million dollars raised online between the candidates, and that is only going to get much, much bigger. News coverage has also exploded--I tracked Google News results for candidates in 2003 just as much as I do now, and the numbers current candidates are receiving are about ten or twenty times larger than they were in 2003. This is truly a super sized campaign, and when it comes to still making a key impact, the netroots have indeed expanded at a rate that is quite equal to the task.
It is odd, really, that Howard Dean is so often credited with being the proto-netroots candidates, when in reality his campaign probably came at least one year to late to really ride the wave. Back in 2003, the netroots was still in its infancy, but now we can support multiple Dean-like campaigns and then some. I mean, in the summer of 2003, Dailykos had roughly the same level of traffic that MyDD has right now. Currently, Dailykos has about twenty times the traffic of MyDD, and there are about a dozen progressive blogs in between us in the traffic rankings. I mean, Edwards is well beyond the Dean campaign online at similar stages in the primary season, and he does not even appear to be the top netroots candidate right now (although he is very close). This great expansion in presidential activity is being driven more by the netroots than it is by the incredibly raised expectations to compete with Hillary Clinton. Had she run in 2004, it would have been impossible for any campaign to compete with her massive political machinery. In the intervening four years, an alternative political machinery has virtually popped up out of nowhere that is at least her equal. It is a remarkable thing to watch.