Obama Nets 260,000 First-Time Donors, But Where Are the 2.7 Million Others?

Jul 13, 2011 1:06pm

ABC News' Devin Dwyer (@devindwyer) reports:  During the 2008 presidential campaign, an estimated 3 million Americans donated money to help get President Obama elected.  So far in Obama's bid for a second term, roughly 292,000 have returned to give again, according to numbers provided by his campaign. 

The Obama campaign today said its fundraising and participation totals for the second quarter demonstrate robust enthusiasm for the president from his base ahead of election day 2012, which is still more than a year away.   

Obama collected $47 million during April, May and June, gathering contributions from 552,462 individuals — a record participation rate for this point in a presidential campaign, officials said.

The number of donors for the quarter also ecclipsed the campaign's total for 2007. 

“This should end any Washington chatter about whether or not our grassroots base will be engaged,” campaign manager Jim Messina said during a conference call with reporters. “Our supporters are back, they’re energized. And there is a new generation of supporters who have joined this organization."

 Messina said more than 260,000 contributors, most of whom participated via the internet, were “completely new to the Obama organization."

According to the campaign, 98 percent of all donations in the second quarter came in installments of $250 or less — the threshold the campaign uses to define “grassroots donors.”  

Some of those donors, however, have and will give more than once, which could change the makeup of the "grassroots" picture by the end of the campaign.

In the second quarter, the campaign reports 552,000 donors gave 680,000 donations, illustrating that some have already doubled down.  More than 13,600 donations were of $251 or more.

During the 2008 cycle, the Obama campaign raised 76 percent of its total funds from donors of who gave $201 or more in total.

“What you’re seeing across the board here is both old supporters returning to the president and a new base of support that’s energized and engaged with this campaign, and we’re seeing that across the board,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. 

The campaign blew past a $60 million joint fundraising goal for the quarter with the Democratic National Committee, topping $86 million in the period. 

Officials today declined to reveal their target for the next three months, but suggested it could be less than what was announced today.

“We’re entering a difficult fundraising environment in the next quarter,” Messina said. “Many folks tune out of the political process in the summer while they’re spending time with their families on vacation. We had some drop off in 2007 during this period and expect that could happen again.” 

The campaign is expected to publicly release its 15,000 page quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.  The report will list the names and contributions of all donors of more than $200 to the campaign. 

LaBolt said they also plan to voluntarily release the names, addresses and contribution range for bundlers — the individual fundraisers who give the maximum contribution to the campaign and encourage others to do the same, netting $50,000 or more.   

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