Thursday, August 21, 2008
The Massive McCain Money Advantage
It seems McCain isn't in quite the financial pickle many thought he'd be when Obama went back on his word and decided to decline public financing.
Within the July financial reports we've discovered some interesting numbers that show McCain may in fact have the advantage going into the beginning of the official general election season.
As we know, each candidate raises funds for both his primary and general election campaign. McCain is taking the $84 million in public funds for the general election while Obama is raising his own cash so he can use MORE than $84 million. So, obviously if Obama raises more than $84 million, which many imagine to be the case, he will have the advantage.
But this does not take into account the funds raised and spent by the national parties. Both the DNC and RNC are able to spend their money on paid media, GOTV, etc. to support their nominee.
In other words, we have to pretty much combine the money raised by each Party and each candidate to get a good idea of how much money everyone has to spend as we head into the general election season.
Let's first take a look at the most important number...Cash on Hand (CoH). This is the amount the organization has in their bank account as of July 30, 2008:
CoH: $4,526,688 (ed. note: Marc Ambinder reported the DNC has $29 million on hand. This is incorrect. After looking at the report it's clear he confused their CoH from 1/1/08 with their CoH as of 7/30/08.)
Now you may respond by thinking the DNC must have outspent the RNC by quite a bit to have that little cash on hand.
Spent 7/1/08 to 7/31/08: $19,449,026.91
Spent 7/1/08 to 7/31/08: $16,715,863.96
So the RNC is spending more AND has that much cash on hand? Impressive.
Now once McCain receives the official nomination, he won't have to worry about fundraising anymore for the general election since he is taking public funds. Obama's fundraising team, on the other hand, has to work through his lists and determine who has not maxed out to him for the general already and try to get them to contribute.
A question I have not seen answered is an important one.... how many of the people that contributed the maximum to Obama for the primary have already done so for the general as well? I would imagine it's safe to say many who can and do contribute the maximum for the primary are able to contribute the maximum for the general, and if that's the case then I'd imagine it's likely they would get writing the general election checks out of the way by now. I can't even begin to make a guess on what percentage have maxed out completely....but either way Obama and his team are going to have to put forward significant resources of time, energy and funds to make sure donors have maxed out on general election funds.
Now let's take a look at the most important numbers at this point....total cash on hand for the candidates as they head into general election season.
McCain immediately has available $84 mill(automatic public funds) + $69 mill(RNC CoH) = $153 million
How much COH does Obama have at the end of July, including DNC funds? $66 mill (Obama CoH) + $4.5 mill(DNC CoH) = $70.5 mill
So just to get caught up to McCain's total funds available as of the Republican convention Obama has to work his butt off to raise $82.5 million. This does not even take into account whatever the RNC will raise over the course of the same time period. He may very well do it and surpass the total McCain/RNC total, but at what cost to his campaign? How much office space, staff, time on the phone and how many fundraisers will Obama's campaign need to compensate for the shortage?
And during this entire time, McCain and his staff will be focusing all of their time on winning the hearts and minds of American voters.
So much for the cash advantage, eh Barack?
Source of all financial data in this post: http://opensecrets.org