The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M Online?

During much of 2005-2006, I thought it was funny to watch as many election analysts saw potential 2008 candidates almost entirely in 2004 terms. Specifically, they saw the possibility of an insurgent campaign, probably Feingold, to be cast as little more than a replication of the Dean campaign. The view was that an internet-based insurgency had only roughly the resources of the Dean campaign to work with, and as such would have a difficult time competing in 2008 when far more dollars, people, and other resources would be required to stay competitive. By way of contrast, since early 2005--pre-Hackett--I believed the pool of online resources would be far broader in 2007 than it was in 2003, and as such it would be possible for a campaign to have more than enough resources to compete even if their search of resources was primarily online, and even if there was no clear "internet consensus" candidate. My estimate was that the pool of online resources available would be at least ten times at large in 2007 as it was in 2003, and possibly twenty times as large (in actual numbers, I believed that at least $500M would be available to Democratic candidate in terms of online donations for the primary season, if it was the right candidate and the right campaign). In some very unofficial ways, I tried to get this point across to Feingold staffers, since at the time he was the potential candidate in whom I was the most interested.

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.

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.
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.

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.

Tags: Barack Obama, fundrasiing, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, John Edwards, netroots, President 2008, progressive movement (all tags)



candidates should use ActBlue

I can't imagine a single reason for a candidate not to use ActBlue.

by Bob Brigham 2007-03-08 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: candidates should use ActBlue
Certainly, those who do use Act Blue--Edwards and Richardson--are making a nod toward supporting progressive infrastrucutre that others are not. I wish they would all use it as well.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-08 05:46PM | 0 recs
hotline article

does not say  "half was raised online"   do you have a source for that chris?

by TarHeel 2007-03-09 05:55AM | 0 recs
Re: hotline article

Actually, it did last night.  They changed the article.  What Chris quotes at the top is what was on there last night... you can see it in the hotlines comments section, some people posted it.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-09 08:23AM | 0 recs
does it make you wonder WHY

hotline deleted that?

the most simple explanation is it's not true...

by TarHeel 2007-03-09 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: candidates should use ActBlue

Only reason I can think of is that if you want to keep your numbers secret.  

Obama's doing a very neat thing on his current ask -- the matching program.  If you give, you get a note from someone else who's given the same amount explaining why she gave.  And then you're asked if you want to make a second give, which will then be matched with another new donor.

by Adam B 2007-03-08 06:09PM | 0 recs
Online vs. Offline

I consider myself part of the netroots, and made a donation to Obama a few weeks ago, but I did it by check because I didn't want the credit card leeches to siphon off ~5%.  Assuming others are like myself, the netroots are larger than the "raised online" numbers indicate.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-03-08 06:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Online vs. Offline

It costs as much or more to process a check. Most organizations far prefer electronic payment and are happy to pay for the service.

by lapis 2007-03-08 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Online vs. Offline

I always assumed that it cost a fixed amount of $ to process a check, whereas a credit card fee is proportional to the donation.  So if giving a relatively small amount (say, $20 or $50) it's better to use a credit card, whereas when giving a large amount (say, $1000) it's better to write a check.

by Go Vegetarian 2007-03-09 02:55AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Someone needs to find out what the per-donation ratio is for that online cash total. It's really easy to lump normal small donor contributions with max size contributions and that could distort things.

Also, Trippi (and I imagine even Jerome) would say that the most amazing thing about the Dean online campaign wasn't the money -- it was MeetUP. No one has come close to replicating that real, tangible activism.

by blueflorida 2007-03-08 06:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Give it a little time...

The site includes an event system... in a box...

It may just work.

I mean, c'mon, 6 million without even trying? (If that's true?)

Game, set, match.

by Vermonter 2007-03-08 06:27PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

I share the enthusiasm (although I'm an Edwards man) but it will be "game, set, match" when we inaugurate a Democrat as president in 2009.

by NicholasWalter 2007-03-08 06:46PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

I concur... I have read about a lot of meetup type events involving Obama supporters.  I am not sure if the numbers are equaling Deans during his height (anyone know what the largest meetup was for Dean... And I assume we are counting meetups as non campaigned organized events without the candidate speaking or being involved... please correct me if I am wrong) but as time goes by I could see it happening.  If it does, Obama's website may be a prototype for future Dem candidates.  It would be cool if ActBlue could add some of the features of Obama's social networking site... a marriage of the two could make a FANTASTIC tool for future infrastructures.  If you could havesome kind of API or other way of letting a candidate take the template for there own site, it would be HUGE for the future... and make sure there is a big POWERED BY ACT BLUE logo on there and the fundraising will show up on ACT BLUE.  Something like this would save our candidates A LOT Of money and time and allow them to hit the ground running.

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-08 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

A good idea, but I'm not sure it would be legal.

by LPMandrake 2007-03-08 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Why?  If it is open to ALL candidates regardless of party, I don't see how it couldn't be legal.  The cool thing is if the license requires the ACT BLUE logo, no way GOP candidates ever use it.

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-09 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Meetup is old school now. It's all about Web 2.0 tools like Facebook. Obama's using the My.BarackObama.Com stuff well, too.

by Dave Sund 2007-03-08 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Meetup is web 2.0. Web 2.0 is all about pushing the power to organize from the central campaign organization structure to the periphery. isn't as vital a tool as it used to be, but the concept of Meetup is still very cutting edge.

by blueflorida 2007-03-08 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

That's funny, cause Facebook and are social networking sites, but there's little if anything 2.0 about either. On the contrary, they seem pretty much totally closed to the outside web. I'd call Obama's site 1.0+, as it seems that BSD has pretty much perfected the campaign/candidate-centric website model, but 2.0 it is not.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-03-09 01:27AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

What exactly is the distinction, Jerome?

by Laurin from SC 2007-03-09 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M OE

by Jumbo 2007-03-09 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Jerome wrote: " seems that BSD has pretty much perfected the campaign/candidate-centric website model..."

I did a google search, but I couldn't figure out what you meant by BSD. I'm really curious to understand the state of campaign tech infrastructure.

Do you know of a good compare and contrast of all the campaign websites, blogs, social networking aspects?

A quick glance at,, and makes it look like to me, from my layman's perspective, Obama has the most Dean-like decentralized fundraising and social networking and "this campaign is powered by you" type messaging. It just feels more people powered, don't you think? Does that sound about right?

I think their Obama Store is brilliant, it serves their customers/supporters. I LOVE the donation matching. Howard Dean did the same thing for the DNC in October/November and it was a lot of fun. I'm surprised Obama is the only one offering that donation option. Their blog looks pretty lame, however.

by alcatholic 2007-03-09 12:15PM | 0 recs
Has Obama Raised $6M Online?

I wonder how accurate the numbers are? If its based on campaign sources, it would seem a little suspect.

by okamichan13 2007-03-08 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Has Obama Raised $6M Online?

Perhaps, although smart campaign sources would want to lowball the numbers.  You want your boss to clear the expectations hurdles with plenty of room.  There's not much that will dry up your fundraising faster than headlines saying your candidate has failed to meet fundraising expectations.

by LPMandrake 2007-03-08 06:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Has Obama Raised $6M Online?

True, but not sure what reason they would have to lie... its going to come out eventually.

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-08 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Has Obama Raised $6M Online?

you sure want it to be suspect don't you?

you're suspect!!!!!!

just a joke


by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:01PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

The really scary thing here... imagine if two of the top candidates weren't splitting the netroots.  If Edwards or Obama was not in the race, think how much would be pouring into one candidate.

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-08 07:12PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

i think thats inacurate...obama is way beyond netroots...

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 07:44PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:
Um, if he is raising half of his money online, not so much. Sure, he has support that goes beyond the online world, but no one is "beyond" half of their campaign donors.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-08 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

raising money online is "netroots"??

i know plenty of people who don't have any idea who kos is or mydd but donate money online...are those people considered netroots??

people nowadays internet like maniacs, do a ton of shopping online and yes donate to canddiates online...

i always thought the netroots was a bit more specific

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 07:59PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:
"raising money online is "netroots"??"

Um, yes.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-08 08:02PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

where's the "roots"

sounds like internet fundraising to me....hardly different, i'm saying, in many cases from mailing checks..just a different way of sending money

i think netroots is about more than that..

if someone instead of calling a phone number or mailing a check goes to a website punches in their stuff and is out of there in substance there is no difference...

but ok .. everyone who donates money on the internet is a part of the netroots..

i think dean's money was percentage wise coming far more from netroots .. today the internet is a far more pervasive medium of internet commerce...

just some scattered thoughts offered in a positive spirit..

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

Netroots != blogosphere.

by PsiFighter37 2007-03-08 08:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

what about people who don't know what a blog is but choose to donate online? are they netroots?

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:
Anyone who engages in political action online that is not akin to big-donor, establishement action is netroots. An inclusive definition is the only way to go.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-08 08:19PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

got it thanks and goodnight

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign:

Both Candidates have strong support both in and outside the netroots.  Being a netroots candidate is an honor and a very good thing.

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-09 08:26AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M
I have said that the difference this time, including the swiftboating by the gop, is going to go alot different as the netroots on the left has grown and become remarkably strong in a very short span of time.  It's gotten to where politicians on the left are listening and where they find they need us.
Also, not to upset anyone who supports anyone else, but, I see this very quick and huge attendance for Obama as the growing of something like a force of nature.  They always have to move venues because ticket (even for big money tickets) is so high and insistent.  Rallies are like the political equivilent to woodstock.  And despite the naysayers it keeps growing.  
He is already within striking distance of the machine who is suppose to be inevitable in the polls.
I do have to say, I am one who has donated to Obama online.  The only way to donate for me.
by vwcat 2007-03-08 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

the swifboat thing was not about money...they swiftboated kerry with a few bucks..what 300g i think? some conservative wacko scuzzball individuals raised the money

kerry had infinite resources and he wouldn't have won if he'd had more...dean had endless

money's overrated...its nice and maybe necessary but in the end it ain't  enough

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:21PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Its not enough, but it makes things a whole lot easier when you have a decent candidate, a decent staff, enough volunteers, and an otherwise reasonable shot at winning.

by jallen 2007-03-08 08:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

the way its shaping in the primaries hrc, obama and edwards are going to have unfathomable money...loads.... its not going to be the difference.. people can only watch so many commercials

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Money

Grassroots campaigns cost money too.  Signs cost money.  Pizza costs money.  Polls cost money.  Phones cost money.  Information costs money.  Flyers and mailings cost money.

by jallen 2007-03-08 08:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Money

Agreed.... Grassroots efforts will play a big roll in taking back the White House, and growing our majorities in Congress.  Presidential Grassroots should help all the down ticket campaigns as well.  Currently there seems to me two candidates best situated for a strong grassroots effort in the general... Obama and Edwards.  This will help both of them and is a great counter balance to the RWNM.  

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-09 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

Chris, are you saying that a single candidate could raise $500 million online during the primary season or did you mean the major candidates Clinton, Obama, Edwards, etc. could raise that much in total.

<and possibly twenty times as large (in actual numbers, I <believed that at least $500M would be available to Democratic <candidate in terms of online donations for the primary <season, if it was the right candidate and the right campaign).</p>

by robliberal 2007-03-08 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

its impossible to fathom 500 million in the primaries for one candidate...that would mean an average of 100 million for each of the next 5 quarters!

having said that i could use a clarification

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M
What I mean is that Dean raised $31M online, and his potential pool of donations was probably much larger than that. And I mean that since then that potential pool has become much, much larger. And, as such, I imagined that multiple candidates could all raise at least $31M online, and probably two or three times that amount.

I don't think there was any circumstance where a single candidate could raise $500M. I just think that is the pool from which you are drawing. The rest depends on having the right candidate and the right campaign. If Obama has already raised $6M online, he will probably raise over $60M online. that is quite enough, in and of itself, to be competitive all the way through February 5th.
by Chris Bowers 2007-03-08 08:24PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M

i have to say allthis money being raised is bad...

imagine all the consultants who are goin to end up pocketing this money... all the crappy campaign ads..

its nice the net empowers individuals to get involved... but money corrupts and is bad for politics.... i think of dean and the millions he blew on iowa..on what??? on a bunch of useless admakers etc...

by serge in dc 2007-03-08 08:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The Super-Sized Campaign: Has Obama

I want to see the numbers for all sides, Democrats and GOP

by rikyrah 2007-03-09 02:49AM | 0 recs
A Pledge Is Also A Donation

I pledged , using my credit card info and the amount. I was matched and processed within the hour and it wasn't a tiny amount either. So, yes, a pledge is a donation.

by FreedomOFSpeechFromTheDNC 2007-03-09 03:37AM | 0 recs
Rove Comment

You gotta love this. Rove is being quoted as saying the Obama is articulate, but inexperienced. (If I was watching TV and saw this report, this is where I jump up frothing and screaming, so please forgive the caps):


by Bob Miller 2007-03-09 05:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Rove Comment

I went ballistic the other day... the local news station in their teaser stated

"What is Barack Obama's relationship with a known pedophile?... see tonight on ... blah blah blah.

I freakin lost it and called to complain.  Of course i knew the story... some pedophile is ranking contenders and put Obama's little kids on his site and made some comments.  Obama asked him to take them down and not link to his campaign site.  THe guy took the pictures down but won't remove the link.  

The teaser though was scummy as hell...  I wanted to smack the shit out of whomever came up with it.

by yitbos96bb 2007-03-09 08:37AM | 0 recs
Lesser candidates need bigger ads and rallies

I miss the days when I was supposed to give a shit who won, instead of watching people spend a small third world economy's worth of wealth on an ego trip.

by jcjcjc 2007-03-09 05:24AM | 0 recs
Campaign: Has Obama Raised $6M Online?

We really really really need a new public campaign financing system. We have become an oligarcy, not a democracy.

by okamichan13 2007-03-09 07:51AM | 0 recs


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