Polling News

Dems Hold Small Dollar Advantage

July 06, 2023

A new NBC News poll reveals that 3 in 10 registered voters have donated to political campaigns in the last two years. However, Republicans remain at a disadvantage when it comes to small-dollar grassroots fundraising. despite attempts to prioritize small dollar from conduits like WinRed and Anedot to the Republican National Committee establishing a 40,000-donor requirement to join the 2024 GOP Presidential Primary debates. 

Why It Matters: Starting in 2004, Democrats have invested heavily to and grow their small-dollar operations, while Republicans remain well behind the curve. Besides starting in earnest more than a decade before the GOP, Democrats also had the advantage of some candidates giving or loaning their donors lists to ActBlue. No Republican nominee has provided similar assistance.

By The Numbers:

  • Of the 30% of registered voters who’ve contributed to a campaign in the last two years, 37% are Democrats, while only 26% are Republicans and 22% identify as independents.
  • Among these voters, the head-to-head races between President Biden and former President Trump would yield 59% for Biden.
  • In 2020, the Democratic ActBlue conduit took in $4.3 billion vs. the GOPs WinRed and Anedot’s $2.2 billion. In 2022 those totals were $2.2 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively.


Driving The Numbers: Democrats have capitalized off the high levels of emotion their presidential candidates inspires among donors so that small-dollar donations and their networking have visibly energized that party’s base. The small-dollar digital activism is more than just anti-Trump. It’s given Democrats a rallying cry and tangible pressure points to push when major news breaks. Investment by Democrats has effectually converted their grassroots into a large fundraising infrastructure driven by Twitter threads, Facebook groups, and email chains.

On The Other HandPolitico noted last month that Republicans are nearly monotonous in the tone of small-dollar fundraising, relying on messages from or about former President Trump. This makes the party dependent on a one individual with a big personal brand and personality, which his campaign is exploiting and which isn’t easy for other party groups to emulate. 

The Bottom Line: Republicans must encourage voters to give at a greater levels if they’re to catch up with Democrats That doesn’t mean sharing lists and using the former president to fire off a dozen or more emails a day, however. It means investing in new mediums and methods that don’t burn out the average donor who gives and then ends up on 50 different shared lists that send similar appeals. Instead, Republicans must create new donors. That will take more than one election cycle and will require a dedicated effort across multiple campaigns, committees and elections. But fostering a culture of small-dollar activism over long term is critical for the GOP. 

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