Friday, August 04, 2006

Big Money VS Grassroots

While today's Globe and Mail story about fundraising for the Liberal leadership is apparently a bit inaccurate, it nevertheless highlights something I find a bit surprising - the princely Michael Ignatieff has a populist support base, at least when it comes to fundraising.

The candidates and their take have been documented, but I'll do the math for you here:

(Editor's Note: I have corrected the Globe and Mail's typo; it listed Martha Hall Findlay as having 5 donors, where she in fact has 56 listed on Elections Canada.)

Bob Rae:
$384,795 from 208 donors.
$1849.98 per donor (average)

Michael Ignatieff:
$293,896 from 525 donors.
$559.80 per donor

Joe Volpe:
$210,170 from 91 donors. (All presumably of age.)
$2309.56 per donor

Gerard Kennedy:
$103,778 from 142 donors.
$730.83 per donor

Scott Brison:
$100,674 from 112 donors.
$898.88 per donor

Carolyn Bennett:
$65,100 from 37 donors.
$1759.50 per donor

Ken Dryden:
$43,617 from 67 donors.
$651.00 per donor

Martha Hall Findlay:
$34,645 from 56 donors.
$618 per donor

Stephane Dion:
$32,250 from 65 donors.
$496.15 per donor

Maurizio Bevilacqua:
$26,650 from 9 donors.
$2961.11 per donor

Hedy Fry:
$15,150 from 15 donors.
$1010.00 per donor

From those numbers, one can infer that the "Big Money" (average donations in excess of $2000) campaigns are being run by Maurizio Bevilacqua and Joe Volpe in that order. The middle of the road (average donations between $1000 and $2000) are Bob Rae, Carolyn Bennett, and Hedy Fry. The ones who are relying more on "grassroots" fundraising (average donations below $1000) are Scott Brison, Gerard Kennedy, Ken Dryden, Martha Hall Findlay, Michael Ignatieff, and Stephane Dion. Dion is the most "populist" fundraiser, followed very closely by Ignatieff.

Of course, this is all just averages - it could easily be that Iggy has accepted huge donations from a few people, and miniscule donations from several. Only a careful analysis of the donor list on the Elections Canada website (an indispensable roadmap for which is provided here.) But nevertheless, averages can be used to tell us things, and at least on face, Ignatieff's status as elitist has to be taken with a grain of salt as a result.


At 8/04/2006 2:16 a.m., Anonymous j said...

Take a look at the Elections Canada report. MHF had 56 donors by my account, not 5. the G&M typoed

At 8/04/2006 3:02 a.m., Blogger Cerberus said...

Good analysis. I appreciate you acknowledging the grassroots support Michael Ignatieff is getting even though you don't support him and have been critical of him.

You have also highlighted the real story here: who is raising more money from smaller donors. This is extremely significant because it shows grassroots strength, reaching out to the rank and file. That's important for momentum and for later ballot support.

It's also important for party renewal. We would not be renewing ourselves very well if we only managed a dozen donors of a few hundred thousand each. No matter how much they donate, a donor still only gets one single vote.

Finally, it is important to show the ability to raise funds this way in the lead-up to a national election. We are way behind the Toies in this. Small donations from more donors means more voters are engaged in the political process. That can only help our electoral chances.

I've got a much more detailed and long-winded analysis of the numbers over at Cerberus in a post on "Liberal leadership and the grassroots" that you may find interesting. Especially as a Dion supporter.


At 8/04/2006 3:03 a.m., Blogger Cerberus said...

Oh, and j is correct. Hall Findlay's numbers didn't make any sense to me so I went and counted. She's got at least 56 donors so there must have been a Globe typo. Watch for a correction tomorrow.


At 8/05/2006 5:56 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not that all this analysis matters; not one of these Liberal candidates will be PM.

Enjoy the dream while it lasts boys and girls.


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