The Barack Obama fundraising juggernaut continued to roll along in March as he outraised Hillary Clinton by a 2 to 1 margin last month. The Obama campaign is reporting that they rose over $40 million, while Clinton is expected to have brought in around $20 million. More impressive than the amount of money raised is the number of donors that the campaign is attracting. The $40 million came from 442,000 donors. Amazingly, the campaign added 218,000 new donors last month.
This is important because donors are considered the most committed supporters of a campaign. Those who donate are also more likely to volunteer, as was pointed out in a press release by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, “Senator Obama has always said that this campaign would rise or fall on the willingness of the American people to become partners in an effort to change our politics and start a new chapter in our history. Today we’re seeing the American people’s extraordinary desire to change Washington, as tens of thousands of new contributors joined the more than a million Americans who have already taken ownership of this campaign for change. Many of our contributors are volunteering for the campaign, making our campaign the largest grassroots army in recent political history.”
Obama is expected to outspend Clinton 2 to 1 in Pennsylvania. He may need to spend every dollar he can there in order to narrow Clinton’s lead. To put these fundraising numbers in a larger context, the two Democratic candidates likely raised over $60 million last month. Hillary Clinton saw her Internet fundraising grow when women were angered by calls for her to get out of the race. In contrast, John McCain has been struggling to raise $10 million a month. Since Barack Obama raises most of his money in hundred dollar increments, most of the campaign’s donors aren’t close to their $2,300 limit. If Obama is the nominee, he will be able to go back to many of these same 1.3 million donors, and ask for help during the general election campaign.
The Obama campaign has built an overwhelming fundraising network of committed people who are willing to both donate and volunteer for the campaign. It really is a candidate’s dream. The Clinton campaign completely misjudged the mood of Democratic primary voters. They assumed that voters were craving experience after almost two terms of George W. Bush. They thought experience along with the Clinton name would allow them to wrap up the nomination by Super Tuesday.
They didn’t plan for a long campaign and were caught completely off guard by the resonance of Obama’s change message. Obama has struck a deep emotional chord with voters that haven’t been seen in presidential politics since Ronald Reagan in 1980. Obama understood the mood of rank and file Democrats. Clinton didn’t, and this is one of the main reasons why she is losing on almost all fronts.