(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
President Obama’s poll numbers may be slipping but his campaign donations are pouring in. In an email released by the Obama campaign Thursday morning, it was revealed that the president’s reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised a total of $70 million in the third fundraising quarter of the year.
This number far exceeded the campaign’s original goal of $55 million, according to the email by campaign manager Jim Messina. The donations were received from more than 606,000 donors and 98 percent of the donations were for $250 or less.
The number of small donors is perhaps shocking to some political pundits who counted Obama as down-and-out among the average, grassroots voter. This could be a sign to the GOP that the president, despite low poll numbers, is still a force among middle-class America.
Another benefit to small donations for the Obama team is that these donors have nowhere near reached the legal maximum amount for individual donations. Therefore, Obama can approach them again for more money in the future.
“If I could sum up this last quarter in a few words: You came through. Thank you,” Messina said at the end of his email.
This is quite a feat for an underdog, which President Obama has referred to himself as.
"I don't mind it. I'm used to being the underdog," he said in a recent interview, according to the Associated Press. Obama seems to be embracing the label “underdog” as a way to motivate his base and get them to feel the urgency to vote. He used this same technique in 2008. However, back then, Obama was clearly the underdog.
Today, however, many political pundits are scratching their head, asking, “Do underdogs raise $70 million?”
The Republican National Committee has been criticizing Obama’s campaign efforts all year, calling him the “Campaigner-in-Chief,” saying he spends more time on the campaign trail than he does governing the country.
"[I]t's no secret President Obama spends a lot of time fundraising and is the most successful fundraiser in history. Obama's problem is he can't replicate that success when it comes to creating jobs,” RNC Spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said in a response statement to Obama’s figures. “While Obama jetted around the country trying to save his own job, 55,000 Americans gave up looking for employment. This president is going to need every penny he can raise because voters don't believe he has the ability to turn the economy around or create much-needed jobs."
On the other side of the political aisle, Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised $17 million in his first two months as a candidate. While all the numbers have not been totaled yet, reports say that Perry is most likely the biggest GOP fundraiser for the quarter.
Mitt Romney’s campaign has only said that he is likely to have raised more than $14 million.
However, the GOP should not fret about finances just yet. While it is clear that the incumbent has the financial advantage, Republicans must remember that they have not named their nominee yet. Once the nominee is announced, votes – and money – that went to other failed GOP candidates are likely to go to the party’s nominee.
According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval rating is at 40 percent among adults.