A lot has been made of presidential polls in the last few weeks; who the strongest Republican contender is, who will win the nomination and, most importantly, how they match up against President Obama.
A lesser amount of attention has been given to how much money the candidates are raising. From the OpenSecrets.org blog:
President Barack Obama continues to be a fund-raising juggernaut, practically exceeding the fund-raising total of the entire GOP field combined. During the third quarter, Obama raised $70.1 million, his campaign announced today. That sum includes $42.8 million that went directly into his own campaign war chest and $27.3 million raised for the Democratic National Committee.
By contrast, none of his GOP rivals are on the same level. No GOP contender cracked $20 million during the third quarter, and only two cracked the $10 million mark.
The campaign of Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said Perry raised about $18 million during the third quarter. Meanwhile, the campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has said Romney raised about $14 million and the campaign of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has said Paul raised about $8 million.
Obama’s massive third-quarter haul brings his campaign’s cycle-to-date fund-raising total to about $91.5 million, not including the large sums he’s helped the DNC raise. That amount nearly matches the sum he had raised by the same point in time four years ago, as he battled for the Democratic Party nomination against political heavy weights including Hillary Clinton and John Edwards.
As of Sept. 30, 2007, Obama had raised $106 million, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s only about 16 percent more than he raised through the third quarter. And this time around, Obama will not face a contentious primary fight.
That last sentence is a very important one. Primaries cost money.
Look, it is a lot of fun to argue about polling more than a year out, but it is only a snapshot of where the race is now. It certainly isn’t clear who will emerge from the primaries and how they will match up against Obama.
One thing is clear: if Obama’s campaign keeps raising money at a steady pace, any GOP nominee will exit the primaries to find themselves at a massive disadvantage in fundraising.
Of course, 2010 was the the year of the PAC and 527, which Republicans used handily to their advantage. It is yet to be seen whether Democrats can use PACs and 527s to an equal advantage.