As the November election nears, and amount of money given to political presidential campaigns reaches unprecedented highs, campaign finance data compiled by the federal government shows that in Oakland, at least, President Barack Obama has raised the lion’s share of political donations.
Data reported by Obama and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), an agency that tracks funding for federal elections, shows that since January, 2011—the start of this presidential campaign’s filing period—local fundraising for Obama’s campaign has vastly outpaced Romney’s. People who live in Oakland and Piedmont gave a total of $2.1 million to Obama over the last year and a half, compared to $144,000 to Romney. (The FEC tracks donations by zip code, and since the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t recognize city boundaries when divvying up postal codes, Piedmont and Oakland’s overlap.)
In Oakland, from January, 2011 through August 31, 2012, 2,592 Oaklanders gave, on average, $180 to the president’s campaign—a total of nearly $1.8 million. For Romney, a total of 159 individuals gave an average of $1,107, totaling $57,609.
Even in Piedmont, where more money was raised for Romney than in Oakland, Obama is more popular. Donors gave more money to Obama—an average of $2,242 for a total of $377,763—while they gave an average of $1,709 to Romney, for a total of $86,319.
A closer look at the numbers reveals where the money is coming from, and where it’s going. FEC data shows that more—but smaller—donations are being given both candidates from people who live in East and West Oakland. The size of individual donations in those zip codes ranged from none to $300, and many were given in amounts like $3, $5 and $10.
Larger amounts of money from fewer people are being given to both candidates from residents who live in the Oakland hills and Piedmont. For example, the average donation for Obama in Piedmont is $255, compared to $2,242 for Romney.
Oakland mirrors the state in leaning heavily towards funding the Democratic candidate. The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., publishes campaign contributions on their site, OpenSecrets.org. This data shows that, like Oaklanders, Californians gave more money to Obama than Romney in this election season—$39 million to the blue side, compared to $24 million to the red side.
Nationwide, the president is out-raising Romney in donations across the board, and he has more left to spend. So far, he’s raised $432 million, and has $88 million on hand. Romney has raised $279 million, and has $50 million on hand, according to Opensecrets.org. Those numbers, which are also reported to the Federal Elections Commission, include money raised by political action committees, or PACs, as well as self-financing, or money from a candidate’s personal bank account.
For individual donations in Oakland and Piedmont, no individual is allowed to give more than $5,000 for the reporting period—which covers two years and ends December 31, 2012. The next filing deadline for the campaigns is October 15, followed by another one before the election. According to FEC officials, deadlines become more frequent as the election nears, so the public knows where candidates are raising their money.
Click on the maps, broken up by postal code, to find out how much money people who live within those boundaries gave to both Obama and Romney. Because people who live here gave significantly more to Obama than to Romney, the shading system used to indicate donation amounts is not the same. Romney’s donations are split up into smaller amounts, starting with the lightest shade of red, from $0 to $100, then $100 to $500, $500 to $1,000 an $1,000 or more. For Obama, we multiplied those figures by 100.
Map by C.K. Hickey and Angela Hart.