Utah makes a little more sense. Besides Utah traditionally being a red state, Mitt Romney has longstanding ties to the Utah community, and that obviously played a major role in both 2008 and 2012. Regardless, Utah has a tremendous number of max-out gifts for only being the 35th largest state in terms of population and 17th largest state in terms of total Republican presidential donations.
Top 10 States for Most Max-outs as a Percentage of Donations
This is where the rubber really hits the road. I wanted to see which states are really opening their wallets for their favorite Republican candidate. The following ratings are based on the number of max-out gifts as a percentage of total donations to Republican presidential primary campaigns. Our guts tell us that we will see a confluence of traditional "red states" and affluent states jumping to the top of the list.
1. Connecticut (7.52 percent of donations are max-outs)
2. New York (6.35 percent of donations are max-outs)
3. Massachusetts (5.36 percent of donations are max-outs)
4. Utah (4.54 percent of donations are max-outs)
5. Texas (4.18 percent of donations are max-outs)
6. New Jersey (3.71 percent of donations are max-outs)
7. Nevada (3.66 percent of donations are max-outs)
8. Wyoming (3.61 percent of donations are max-outs)
9. California (3.35 percent of donations are max-outs)
10. Florida (3.26 percent of donations are max-outs)
*The District of Columbia (9.98 percent of gifts are max-outs) was not included in this top 10 list as we consider D.C. citizens professional politicos.
Well, we were partially correct. Connecticut, New York and my fair Commonwealth of Massachusetts are affluent. They are not red states however. In the past five presidential elections (1992-2008), these states, along with New Jersey and California, gave the Democratic candidate a margin of victory of over 10 percent. These are definitely blue states.
It’s interesting that first place Connecticut's percentage is twice as large as number 10 Florida. The average percentage across all states was 2.45 percent. The only true red states in the top 10 list are Utah, Texas and Wyoming.
Let’s look at affluence. If we examine these states in terms of median household income, we find that 40 percent of the top 10 max-out donation states are on the list: Connecticut (#3 in median income), Massachusetts (#6), New Jersey (#2) and California (#9).
Here is where our premise starts to hold water; the true red states of Utah, Texas and Wyoming are well represented in the top 10 Republican donation states, even though they are lower on the affluence scale. Utah is ranked 14th in terms of median income, Nevada is 18th and Texas is 25th.
The two states that completely go against our theory are Florida and New York. New York is a blue state, and they sit in 15th place in terms of affluence. Florida is a swing state but is only in 38th place in terms of affluence. Florida is actually easily explained by their massive political importance during the last few cycles and their large population of retirees.
New York can be explained by the fact that it is the ancestral home of the U.S. financial industry. Bankers’ and brokers' interests are tightly aligned with Washington and their pockets are deep. It is reasonable to assume that they would provide max-out donations to both Republicans and Democrats.
I know what you really want to know is which state has the fewest max-out Republican donations in terms of a percentage of all gifts. This honor goes to Alaska with only 0.24 percent of their gifts being the maximum amount a donor can give.
Erik currently runs sales and marketing for CMDI, the largest Republican fundraising technology platform.