Why is it important to pay attention to the amount of money that the candidates for New York's 24th District race are able to raise? Is it because the candidates will use that money to buy voter support, regardless of their worth? Or, is it because the amount of money that candidates raise to support their campaign spending is some kind of indication of the amount of support that the candidates have among voters?
Consider the following graph, which shows the spindly-legged, top-heavy structure of donations to Republican Ray Meier's campaign. Almost all of Ray Meier's donations were larger than the working people of the 24th District could afford to make. The chart shows the number of donations Ray Meier received, sorted according to the amount of the donation.
How does the out-of-balance fundraising structure of the Ray Meier campaign compare to those of the Democratic campaigns?
Ray Meier's campaign has brought in $162,275 in individual contributions, but he got that money from only 105 donors.
The Michael Arcuri for Congress campaign has brought in $174,257 in individual contributions from many more donors than Ray Meier: 192.
Les Roberts has convinced more individual donors to contribute to his campaign for Congress than either Michael Arcuri or Ray Meier, though the gross amount of money he has received is less than what Arcuri or Meier have brought in. Roberts has beought in $145,848.35 in individual contributions, but got that amount from 214 different people.
What does each donation dollar mean for these three campaigns?
- Ray Meier has 6 supporters per $10,000
- Michael Arcuri has 11 supporters per $10,000.
- Les Roberts has 15 supporters per $10,000
If you believe that victory in a political campaign is bought, not earned, then you should disregard these numbers. If you believe, however, that the power of campaign fundraising is best understood as a reflection of the support that a candidate has among voters, then you should use these numbers to weight the raw fundraising numbers accordingly.
Let's draw up a formula that could be used to create such a weighting system:
Raw amount of individual contributions x # of supporters per $10,000 / 10
What kind of result do we get in such a weighted system?
Ray Meier's weighted fundraising: $97,365
Michael Arcuri's weighted fundraising: $191,682.70
Les Roberts's weighted fundraising: $218,772.53