Which U.S. states are the Republicans' BFF (that's best friends forever, if you’re unfamiliar with the lingo) when it comes to presidential fundraising? We at CMDI decided to dig into the donor data to find out.
In order to normalize the giving data, this examination only includes FEC filings for Republican presidential candidates during the primaries of 2004, 2008 and 2012. As the general elections are still in play for 2012, we didn't want to skew the data. The goal was to determine which states are most rabid in their financial support for their favorite Republican candidate.
Top 10 Most Active Fundraising States
This category didn't hold any surprises. The more populous states should, in theory, generate the largest number of political donations. This premise held mostly true, and the top 10 winners in terms of total number of political donations are:
1. California (#1 in total population)
2. Texas (#2 in total population)
3. Florida (#4 in total population)
4. New York (#3 in total population)
5. Pennsylvania (#6 in total population)
6. Ohio (#7 in total population)
7. Georgia (#9 in total population)
8. Illinois (#5 in total population)
9. Virginia (#12 in total population)
10. Michigan (#8 in total population)
We see that Virginia is punching above its weight. Virginia ranks ninth in terms of number of gifts, and 12th in terms of population. I attribute their enthusiasm for presidential politics to their proximity to Washington D.C.
Top 10 States for Max-Out Presidential Donations
A max-out donation occurs when an individual donor gives the maximum contribution amount allowable by the FEC. Each cycle the amount is a little different. In 2004, the max-out donation limit was $2,000. During the 2008 primaries, the limit was $2,300, and this year the limit is $2,500. This mathematical nuance added an extra twist to our number crunching, but we didn't expect any surprises. We assumed the total max-out political donations count for each state would reflect general population sizes. We were wrong.
1. Texas (#2 in total population)
2. California (#1 in total population)
3. New York (#3 in total population)
4. Florida (#4 in total population)
5. Massachusetts (#14 in total population)
6. New Jersey (#11 in total population)
7. Illinois (#5 in total population)
8. Connecticut (#29 in total population)
9. Utah (#35 in total population)
10. Ohio (#7 in total population)
11. Virginia (#12 in total population)
The big shockers were Utah and Connecticut. Yes, Connecticut is more affluent than most states, but placing eighth in terms of total max-out donations, even though they are 29th in terms of population, is a pretty big jump. Just out of curiosity, I checked where Connecticut was, in terms of their total number of Republican presidential donations, and they were right where they were supposed to be—27th place. It is amazing that they have so many max-out donations.