4 Things Revealed in the Year-End Campaign Finance Reports

The money trail looks a lot like the polling.

ByABC News
February 1, 2016, 9:39 AM

— -- Jan. 31 was not only the day before voting begins in the 2016 presidential race, it was the deadline for candidates and super PACs to reveal their end-of-year financials, or how much money they raised from October through December.

A poke around the documents reveals that the financial status of the candidates mirrors the narrative emerging in the polls: Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are neck and neck in Democratic fundraising, while Sen. Ted Cruz, who generally finds himself behind Donald Trump, raised the most money of any GOP candidate.

Here are the top four takeaways:

Trump (Mostly) Self-Funds His Own Campaign

Donald Trump repeatedly stresses how he is self-founding his campaign, and he mostly is. But for this most recent quarter, he received roughly $2.6 million in donations, less than the previous quarter, when he received roughly 3.8 million in donations. His campaign spent more on campaign hats than Rick Santorum's spent on everything. Trump also loaned himself $10 million the quarter; previously he had only loaned himself a bit more than $2 million.

Cruz Could Be on the Verge of a Major Endorsement

Ted Cruz's campaign received two $2,700 donations - the maximum allowable amount from Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Adelson. The Adelsons haven't endorsed anyone, but their opinion carries huge weight in the conservative world, not to mention major financial backing.

Even Trump, who repeatedly touts how he is funding his own campaign, met with Adelson. But even if the Adelsons don't endorse Cruz, he is on solid footing financially. His campaign, which has the most cash on hand of any GOP candidate, unveiled a $22.6 million haul for the quarter -- almost double the $12.2 million he raised during the third quarter.

Both Sanders and Clinton Can Afford the Long Haul

Polling shows Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in tight races for both Iowa and New Hampshire. Both candidates seem to have the financial backing for a lengthy primary, should it turn into that. They both raised over $33 million this quarter.

Numerically speaking, Sanders spent a bit less than Clinton, and he had a lower burn rate (meaning he spent the money less quickly): 96 percent, while hers was 100 percent. He also raised a bit more ($33.5 v. $33.1). Meanwhile, Martin O'Malley is not doing well financially. He has just $169,000 in cash on hand, and has over $535,000 in debt.

As Bush's Poll Numbers Slip, So Does His Fundraising

Jeb Bush's "war chest," which was once deemed by many as an insurmountable obstacle for other candidates, is slowing down. His campaign raised $7 million for the quarter, down from $13 million the previous quarter. The super PAC backing his campaign also unveiled dismal quarterly numbers, raising just $15.1 million compared to the $103.1 million it raked in over the first six months of 2015. And roughly two-thirds of the second half haul came from a single donor: C.V. Starr & Co.