Trump Campaign Outpaces Biden in Fundraising From Small Donors
The Biden campaign has been outfundraising the Trump campaign in recent months – but that’s unlikely to worry the incumbent who defeated Hillary Clinton while spending roughly half a much.
As was the case with Clinton, megadonors are inflating the amount of actual support we can infer from the donation data. Total donations aren’t as much of an indicator of enthusiasm for a candidate as are the percent of donations coming from small donors. After all, everyone gets one vote, and in that light a million people donating $5 to Trump means a million times more than one megadonor donating $5 million to Biden. (Though speaking of megadonors – President Trump has floated putting $100 million of his own money into his campaign).
According to Just the News:
Americans who donate to campaigns are more likely to vote, according to the Pew Research Center. “Among those who say they vote always or nearly always, 21% said that they made a donation, compared with 4% of those who seldom voted or voted only part of the time,” the Pew survey found.
Trump raised $229.5 million among small donors compared to Biden’s $139 million, according to latest Center For Responsive Politics data. Biden has raised slightly more money ($187.3 million) than Trump ($183.9 million) among big donors. Trump and Republicans overall have outpaced Biden in total fundraising, with $505.4 million compared to $478.9 million.
Large donations comprise a bigger chunk of the overall money raised by Biden than Trump. This trend could fit into Trump’s electoral argument that Biden is beholden to large, global corporations, while Trump is a fighter for the working and middle classes.
Overall, 57.4% of Biden’s donations are from large donors, while 42.6% are from small donors (those donating less than $200). For Trump it’s 55.3% from small donors, 44.3% from large donors (percentages don’t add up to 100% because 0.4% is classified as coming from “other”).
As we’ve noted before, a wide enthusiasm gap has opened up between Biden and Trump. According to one poll of voter enthusiasm taken as the coronavirus pandemic was escalating, 55% of Trump’s supporters are “very enthusiastic” about backing him, while only 28% of Biden supporters said the same. For some historical context, the gap in those “very enthusiastic” about their candidate in election years is as follows:
• 2020 – Joe Biden: 29-point deficit against President Trump.
• 2016 – Hillary Clinton: 13-point deficit against Donald Trump.
• 2012 – Mitt Romney: 25-point deficit against President Obama.
• 2008 – John McCain: 33-point deficit against Barack Obama.
• 2004 – John Kerry: 16-point deficit against President George W. Bush.
All of the candidates who were trailing in enthusiasm lost. Including Hillary Clinton. She, too, had a slim lead over Trump among registered voters and lagged in enthusiasm, trailing Trump by 13 points in the “very enthusiastic” category in September 2016. Biden is doing 16 points worse than Clinton was.