Does the amount of funding a campaign gets really matter?

Posted: September 17, 2019 | By: Samantha Bennett Tagged: Blog

Candidates tend to make a big deal about the amount of money raised during their campaign. It helps them take their campaign where they want it to go and helps them get media attention. It shows that they have enough traction to gain donor support and makes themselves known to their voters. It can make big headlines, but does it actually really matter how much money a candidate raises? Does it actually relate to their standing in the race? 


According to the New York Times, Joe Biden is leading for the Democrats in the presidential race. Their national polling average says that Biden is coming in with 29% of the vote and has the most news coverage out of all of the candidates. Next in line is Elizabeth Warren with 17% matching with being second for news coverage as well. Bernie Sanders is following close behind with 15%, being third for news media coverage. Kamala Harris is said to be around 7%, Pete Buttigieg has 5%, Andrew Yang has 3%, Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke have 2%, Julián Castro has 1%, and every other candidate is polling under 1%. All of their news coverage, for the most part, falls in order as well, except that O’Rourke has more media coverage than is expected from his polling average.


So does this order translate to how much money has been raised by each campaign? After reading an article from Market Watch, it becomes clear that money doesn’t always translate to success. Although Bernie Sanders is polling in third place, he has raised the most money at thirty-six million dollars and has spent twenty-four million of it on his campaign. Up next is Pete Buttigieg who has raised thirty-two million which is right behind Sanders. Of all of that money, he has only spent around nine million. Elizabeth Warren has raised twenty-five million dollars and has spent around fifteen million. Twenty-four million has been raised by Kamala Harris and she has spent around twelve million. Biden is close behind her, and Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker are not far behind. Everyone else pretty much falls in line with their standing in the race, raising between four and nine million and spending between six and three million. It is surprising, though, that Joe Biden is fifth in line with raising twenty-two million and has spent eleven million of it. 

It is clear that the media makes a bigger deal out of fundraising than it needs to be. The lower half of the candidates that are not as high all have pretty similar amounts of fundraising, but it’s the top half of the candidates that have some discrepancies. Joe Biden is number one in the polls but is fifth with fundraising. Similarly, Bernie Sanders is in third place, yet he is leading in fundraising. It does have some effect on a candidate’s campaign, but it doesn’t completely determine how successful a campaign will be.