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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

How Much Money Where Your Virtual Mouths Are? An Informed Guess Says Maybe $300,000+

posted by on October 7 at 12:15 PM

Having spent a couple of days over the last week collecting information on how much money you Sloggers have given to Obama for the general election, I am ready to make an informed guess at Obama’s total haul from Slog-land.

Here’s the data I’m working with:


Now, of course, the usual huge caveat. All this information was anonymously self-reported via an internet poll—which, you know, makes this information about as reliable as any anonymous internet acquaintance you might have.

But let’s go way out on a limb and assume good faith, good intentions, and high integrity and reliability among all anonymous Slog users. If we do that, we can extrapolate from my poll results and conclude—while acknowledging the huge caveat above—a few things:

• Nearly one third of you anonymous self-reporters have not given any money to Barack Obama.

• Of those who have given, the largest group is those who have given $50 or less.

• At the high end, according to this poll data, Slog readers may have given a total of about $310,906 to Obama for the general election. (And at the low end, about $167,262.)

• The poll shows very clearly why politicians spend so much time with high-dollar donors. The 1 percent of Slog respondents who said that they donated $2,001 - $2,300 for the general have, in total, given Obama far more than the total amount given by the 25 percent of respondents who said that they gave $1 - $50. In other words, even in Slog-land, where you’d think the small-donor effect might be greater, the top 1 percent far outpaces the bottom 25 percent in overall giving.

RSS icon Comments


Bailo for president!

Posted by Ziggity | October 7, 2008 12:12 PM

I have been spending way too much time on this site looking up who friends, family, and neighbors donated to. Very entertaining... People with my last name have given almost four times as much to the Democrats over the Republicans.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 7, 2008 12:15 PM

I lied about giving $2001 -$2300.

Posted by sockpuppet | October 7, 2008 12:27 PM

I love that site also...but based purely on a sample of seven (myself, brother, parents and three friends) its accuracy is zero.

All of us have made donations to Obama (and one to Clinton before she dropped out) and none of show up.

Also doing a zip code search yields very few results.

I used to have a link to another site that was at least in personal terms more accurate.

Posted by gnossos | October 7, 2008 12:34 PM

@2 Thanks a lot. Now I'm not getting anything done for the rest of the day!

Posted by T | October 7, 2008 12:39 PM

Get ready to keep on givin' for the next few years as well, albeit to the IRS.

Posted by john cocktosin | October 7, 2008 12:45 PM

My last name shows about 12 times more Democratic donations than Republican donations. And those Republican donations are for Ron Paul which isn't sooooooo bad I guess.

Posted by Sir Learnsalot | October 7, 2008 12:54 PM

@4 - I don't know what the time lag is on that site. My donation from 3 weeks ago doesn't register yet. But, I also founds a few donations that I know people made that don't show up.

Also, I should credit Andy Niable with sharing that link in the last donation pool post.

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 7, 2008 12:57 PM

It has been my experience that Slog readers are more concerned with complaining than with actually effecting change, unless said change has to do with bike lanes or booze.

Posted by hohoho green giant | October 7, 2008 1:15 PM

I don't think the database shows anything under $250, so if you've been giving less in each bite, you won't be on it, even if your aggregate is way over. It's also extremely susceptible to lousy data entry, meaning your name might be misspelled, etc. I know one of my donations from '04 doesn't show up because they left off the zip code.

Posted by Fnarf | October 7, 2008 1:44 PM

Why not poll asking how many people have donated to local or state candidates? Considering the much greater potential impact small amounts of money have on local and state races, it'd be something worth looking into.

Posted by Sara | October 7, 2008 1:47 PM

Here's a picture of how this looks outside of slogland:

Here, you can see how lots of small donors do eventually pay off.

Posted by josh | October 7, 2008 2:12 PM

I don't believe that site gives anything past the primaries.

Posted by Christin | October 7, 2008 2:27 PM

@10 ahh that would explain my not showing up for sure. I'm in for over a $250 aggregate, but $100 was the largest single drop.

But I remember one site that showed even $50 donations to an initiative campaign.

Posted by gnossos | October 7, 2008 2:42 PM

$20-30 makes no difference to Obama, that's food in my face.

Posted by The CHZA | October 7, 2008 3:02 PM

Eli, I know you're the Stranger reporter who aspires to be professional, and someday in the mainstream. Listen to me. This data is pure shit. Please don't ever go on TV or on Time's blog and make any reference to what you supposedly know about campaign finance based on this shit data.

Every time you write your usual disclaimer, you display why you utterly fail to comprehend what is wrong with this type of polling. Your statement that "this information about as reliable as any anonymous internet acquaintance you might have" is false.

Anyway, I urge you to go and learn why it is false before you make an ass of yourself later on.

Posted by elenchos | October 7, 2008 4:36 PM

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