Gender and $$ in the Democratic Primary

Taking an opening from David Brooks (of all people), NYC Weboy has an important point to make about the influence of large donors on elections.  Following through to the original source about campaign donations, OpenSecrets.org, I took a more detailed look at Clinton and Obama’s campaign contributions.  Clinton raised about $229M all in, Obama almost $300M.

Unsurprisingly, there was a major gender gap in individual contributions to the two candidates.

OpenSecrets breaks down all individual contributions by gender (from here on out, #s are rounded).  Obama received $129M from 124,000 people, whereas Clinton received $116M from 88,000 people.   Clinton raised 90% as much from Obama from 70% as many donors. This is in part because individual donors gave more to Clinton on average: the average women gave just under $1,200 to Clinton, while she gave only $1,000 to Obama.  For men, it was $1,500 to Clinton versus $1,058 to Obama.

Obama raised more money than Clinton due to his male contributors. The # of women contributing to either campaign was almost the same: 48K for Clinton, 53K to Obama, but they comprised 49% of Clinton’s donor pool, versus only 41% of Obama’s.  Almost twice as many men gave to Obama (71m) versus Clinton (39m), and this disparity meant that Obama raised $75M from men to Clinton’s $58M from male donors.  In contrast, Clinton’s female donors gave her $57M and Obama’s female donors gave him $54M.  The $13M advantage to Obama came entirely from male donors.

Furthermore, if you look at the gender breakdown among donor categories ($200-499, $500-999, $1,000-$2300, $2301-$4599, $4600+), it’s the male contributions to Obama dwarf those to Clinton in every category but the $4,600+ group.  Clinton earns less from women in all but the latter category too, but again, the differences are typically much smaller.

Staring at the donor data, it seems to me that a group of fewer than 3,000 wealthy women donors gave Clinton her $3M advantage among women.  I know from her very almost daily very personal e-mails to me with the giant red CONTRIBUTE button at the bottom that Sen. Clinton surely doesn’t think of it that way.  But just looking at my own donor group, where some 2,000 more women gave Obama a $1M advantage, well, I see how that whole women and working-class constituency panned out for Clinton.  Sure, Clinton has her rich friends (and thank goodness!), but us aging ladies making $.65-.78 on a man’s dollar, and losing our young, single and childless third-wave gals and their Blogger Boyfriendz to Obama, well, did Clinton ever really stand a chance?

I know, I know, she was the one to beat…Guess we didn’t see Obama and his egalitarian, progressive, free-thinking on-line small donor army coming for us.  We must have been sequestered in that feminisphere.  Losers.

(A second post is forthcoming one about industry contributions and organizational bundles.  I will also get the data up onto an available google doc at some point.)


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