Philadelphians are giving less to President Barack Obama this time around than they did in 2008, according to new campaign finance reports filed with Federal Elections Commission.
According to new filings, Obama has collected $2.8 million from donors in Philadelphia zip codes. That’s far less than the $4 million he collected from the same area at a similar point during the 2008 campaign. In 2008, Obama ran against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary, while he is unopposed this year for the Democratic nomination.
But, said one local political consultant, the numbers will rise when the president starts to campaign in the city and across the state.
“As we start to close in on the election, and he starts to put out the effort — I think that the fundraising will start to rise,” said Maurice Floyd.
He added that because of the historic nature of Obama’s 2008 campaign, it was difficult to compare donations this time around with those from the previous presidential campaign cycle.
“It may not hit where it hit last time, but if you look at those numbers, they were very incredible numbers,” he said.
By the completion of the 2008 campaign, Obama had collected $14.8 million from Pennsylvanians. That compared to $5.2 million for then-candidate Sen. John McCain.
It’s a trend that is being repeated — at this point — again.
In terms of donations to his campaign from within Pennsylvania, Obama has managed to stay ahead of Mitt Romney — they brought in $4.3 million and $3.2 million respectively.
The finance reports back up recent polling that shows Obama with a lead in three swing states, Pennsylvania among them. A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed Obama leading in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida.
In Pennsylvania — where Democrats have carried the last five presidential elections — Obama leads Romney, 45 percent to 39 percent. He also enjoys a similar lead in Ohio, where numbers showed him with the support of 48 percent of voters to Romney’s 36 percent.
However, mirroring national trends, Republicans in the Keystone State have amassed a significantly larger war chest, which, in the wake of the Citizens’ United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that allows private groups and corporations to fund political ads, gives the GOP a formidable financial advantage. Republican fundraising was reported at $6.3 million for Romney and the party, compared to $4.3 million for Obama and the party.
The president was in the area last month on a fundraising trip, and Floyd was confident that Democrats from the city, region and state would open their wallets as Election Day nears.
“The tighter it gets and the closer it gets to the election, those resources will start to come in,” he said.
That doesn’t mean the president is poised to sweep Pennsylvania. The same Quinnipiac poll that gave Obama an edge showed that voters are evenly split on the question of who would do a better job on the economy.
Both candidates have been busy pitching their economic message to voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The president kicked off a two-state bus tour Thursday, visiting Ohio and western Pennsylvania with three stops in northern Ohio on Thursday, and a visit to Pittsburgh today. It’s his first bus tour of this campaign cycle, and comes close on the heels of a bus tour by Romney that made several stops in Pennsylvania last month.
At a national level, the Obama campaign has far more cash on hand than Romney.
However, when money from Republican political action groups is factored in, Romney has the cash advantage with $266.7 million given to the party and its allies. That compares to $255.2 million to Obama and Democratic PACs.
Again, Floyd. while acknowledging the president’s position, said he felt the Democrats would still be able to run an effective campaign.
“He’s still going to have what he needs,” Floyd said of Obama. “He’s not going to be lacking in any way from running a good, successful campaign for lack of money.”
Nationally, the largest share of Obama’s campaign donations – approximately $154.7 million, has come from donors giving less than $200. The reverse is true for Romney, with donors giving more than $1,000 contributing a larger share at $89.5 million.