A little more on Obama’s fundraising and enthusiasm [Karl]
June fund-raising for Sen. Obama appears to be falling below the expectations of some supporters. The campaign hasn’t released its June numbers, but people close to the fund-raising operation say the total will likely be just over $30 million. While this isn’t a poor showing, it is an underwhelming haul for a campaign that has ballooned in recent months, has promised a true, 50-state electioneering effort and has told its biggest fund-raisers that it wants to collect $300 million in general-election cash by mid-October.
Of course, the leaked $30 million could be a head fake; this is politics.Ã‚Â However, accounting for that possibility, Patrick Ruffini adds some historical context:
$30 million in June would be slightly south of what John Kerry did the month he captured the nomination in 2004. Even if it’s in the $40-50 million range, that’s only incrementally better than what Kerry did as the nominee in 2004. This does not suggest that Obama is fundamentally a different kind of general election candidate.
Ruffini also echoes my observation from last month that Obama’s online fundraising was driven in no small part from the event-driven drama of the primary campaign.Ã‚Â
He also speculates that theÃ‚Â intensity level of the 2008 general election will not match the 2004 election.Ã‚Â I might not go that far yet, but I am beginning to wonder how important that “enthusiasm gap” will turn out to be.Ã‚Â For example, take the new Newsweek poll, which has Obama +3 over McCain and is accompanied by the mag’s attempt to downplay its previous Obama +12 outlier:
Obama’s overall decline from the last NEWSWEEK Poll, published June 20, is hard to explain. Many critics questioned whether the Democrat’s advantage over McCain was actually as great as the poll suggested, even though a survey taken during a similar time frame by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg showed a similarly large margin. Princeton Survey Research Associates, which conducted the poll for NEWSWEEK, says some of the discrepancy between the two most recent polls may be explained by sampling error.
That is what most everyone else thought at the time when the mag was defending it, but I digress.Ã‚Â The accompanying story notes that 53 percent of voters (and 50 percent of former Hillary Clinton supporters) believe that Obama has changed his position on key issues in order to gain political advantage, and suggests this may have swung some independent voters:
But 61 percent of registered voters who support Obama say they support him strongly, compared to just 39 percent who say they strongly support McCain. At a similar point in the 2004 presidential race, only 53 percent of supporters of Democratic nominee John Kerry said they supported him strongly.
That gap is comparable (once you do the math to account for difference in question wording) to the numbers from the Pew poll taken from June 18-29, which predated Obama’s flip-floppery.Ã‚Â Thus, the picture that may be emerging is that the flip-floppery may be hurting him with independents and Obama’s online donors, but is not eroding the general level of enthusiasm among the Democratic rank-and-file.Ã‚Â But that “enthusiasm gap” may not be all that meaningful whereÃ‚Â Obama leadsÃ‚Â by onlyÃ‚Â 3%-5% in most polls this far away from November.
Update: Delayed Allah-lanche!Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Allah notes that Obama’s campaign manager is begging for money (but suggests it is a case of summer doldrums, rather than a larger problem.Ã‚Â Could be; as noted above, much of the primary fundraising was inherently event-driven, and there are no distinct battles being won and lost at this juncture.Ã‚Â However, if Obama comes in low for the month in which he secured the delegates needed for his historic nomination, it could be a red flag.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Also, ifÃ‚Â his centrist poses turn off base voters,Ã‚Â ObamaÃ‚Â couldÃ‚Â suffer a reduced level of online fundraising even when the doldrums end.Ã‚Â I think it may be difficult, if not impossible, to determine what his take would be absent those poses, so even a hindsight analysis will not be all that illuminating.