While Barack Obama’s policy choices have often irked his progressive base and his occasional jabs at “fat cat bankers” have rankled the thin-skinned titans of Wall Street, he has had surprisingly little trouble raking in their fundraising dollars. The Democratic National Committee and his re-election campaign reported gathering a combined $70.1 million in the quarter that closed at the end of September.
Much of that money came from bundlers, or fundraisers who gather the legal maximum of $2,500 from as many people as possible.
“The network of bundlers that is already active has been funneling in huge amounts of money to the Obama campaign and the DNC,” Michael Beckel, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, told The National Memo. “We know that a lot of those people have connections to Wall Street and ties to the security and investment industry. So while some Wall Street people are sitting on their hands or waiting to see which way the political wind is blowing, others are still backing the president.”
Obama raised more than the entire Republican field combined, and though big-dollar donations are certainly doing much to boost his totals, he continues to collect money from hundreds of thousands of grassroots supporters giving small-dollar (less than $200) donations as well.
“In the second [previous] quarter, he raised about 47 percent of his money from small dollar donors,” Beckel said. “That’s even more than over the course of the 2008 campaign, when the Obama campaign raised about a third of its money from small donors and 57 percent from people who gave $1,000 or less.”
Nonetheless, the big story here is probably that for all of its reservations about Obama, the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, and the Democratic Party’s occasional flirtation with populism, a large chunk of the financial community is betting on a win by the president.
“Wall Street likes a winner, and an incumbent president is hard to unseat, especially when he’s got the financial resources at his disposal. He’s running up the tab on his side of the column while the Republicans are still duking it out amongst themselves,” Beckel added.