Despite Low Polls, Obama Still A Fundraising King


America is not happy with President Barack Obama, and approval polls and the media have firmly established this fact. Articles questioning the possibility of Obama's getting re-elected seem to be the most popular thing around. But what many have yet to take into account is a secret weapon which the Obama administration has been quietly developing since the lead-up to the 2008 election: fundraising.

While approval ratings slip down at an alarmingly fast rate in solid blue states such as New York and Republicans in Congress try their hardest to foil every step Obama takes in an attempt to make him into a “one-term president” (source: Michele Bachmann), fundraising numbers for the incumbent president’s re-election campaign are smashing records and trouncing those of the GOP.

Many on the right are saying (and hoping) that Obama’s less than stunning support from voters will reflect on his fundraising capabilities in the lead-up to the 2012 election. Particularly, they are capitalizing on Mitt Romney’s connection to Wall Street and the private sector. At least 67 Wall Street executives who had previously donated to the Obama campaign in 2008 have donated to Romney’s campaign in 2011, which Fox News seems to think indicates a sign of distrust and anger after Obama’s support of the Dodd-Frank bill.

Further, the fact that Obama’s poll numbers have been trailing in the 40s since the beginning of 2011 does not bode well. Though Clinton’s approval rating before re-election was comparable, he experienced a bump up to the mid 50s closer to re-election. Similarly, both George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan enjoyed support above 50% by this time in their respective re-election cycles.

To offset this, Obama has maintained his title of “fundraiser in chief” far more than any other president in history. To date, Obama has held 127 fundraising events for himself and other Democrats since taking office – far surpassing the second place fundraiser, George H. W. Bush, who held 90 by this point (and his son, who held 88). Liberal powerhouses such as Washington, D.C., California, and New York have been privy to most of his events, while swing states like Florida, Pennsylvania, and Nevada have also received fundraising appearances. These fundraising attempts have not all been successful, as many democratic candidates he campaigned with lost in the 2010 midterm elections. Obama himself has fared better, raising a reported $47 million in the first quarter of his re-election campaign, more than any of the GOP candidates combined.

Having Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a voice in the Obama administration certainly hasn’t hurt either, as leftover Hillary supporters from 2008 make up almost 10% of his $50K+ fundraisers. A motive for the Obama campaign’s zealous courting of Clinton fundraisers was undoubtedly to replace the fundraisers who no longer back Obama as enthusiastically as in 2008.

Neither polls nor large amounts of money, especially at this stage, can effectively predict the 2012 election. But if Obama can successfully hold an LGBT fundraiser in New York City a mere 24 hours before the historic passage of gay marriage in New York without directly supporting gay marriage, it would not seem as if his fundraising chiefs have too much to worry about. The GOP, on the other hand, seem to be the ones worried about multi-millionaire Mitt Romney’s struggle to keep up with the incumbent’s fundraising juggernaut.

Photo Credit: marcn