ANALYSIS: Small-Dollar Donors in the 2016 Presidential Race

With 2016 presidential candidates filing new third quarter campaign finance reports at the Federal Election Commission, Common Cause examined the support each candidate is receiving from small-dollar donors (those who give $200 or less).

This analysis uses the total reported fundraising for each campaign; it does not include money collected by non-profit groups, Super PACs, or any other committees aligned with the campaigns. All data below came from FEC filings.

Overview

Overall, about $100 million has been raised by the 2016 presidential candidates from small-dollar donors, or about 37% of all money raised by the campaigns. As a percentage of their total funds raised, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul lead the field in small-dollar donor fundraising.


Candidate

Total Contributions
(as of Sept 30, 2015)

Total Individual Unitemized Contributions
(as of Sept 30, 2015)

Percent of Contributions
From Small Donors

Bernie Sanders

$39,953,743.73

$30,652,976.32

77%

Donald Trump

$4,015,115.15

$2,816,148.71

70%

Ben Carson

$31,336,023.41

$19,641,648.54

63%

Rand Paul

$7,763,828.25

$4,491,347.90

58%

Carly Fiorina

$8,493,688.63

$3,980,706.57

47%

Ted Cruz

$26,316,661.33

$11,070,908.68

42%

Jim Webb

$696,972.18

$290,304.93

42%

Mike Huckabee

$3,245,193.14

$1,313,898.39

40%

Larry Lessig

$1,015,559.93

$389,445.43

38%

Lincoln Chafee

$44,506.89

$16,333.00

37%

Scott Walker

$7,377,551.11

$2,652,469.57

36%

Marco Rubio

$22,230,061.41

$6,410,219.45

29%

Rick Santorum

$994,976.19

$216,025.16

22%

Hillary Clinton

$76,995,137.24

$13,292,382.58

17%

Bobby Jindal

$1,158,196.90

$134,278.78

12%

John Kasich

$4,374,838.22

$503,823.48

12%

Rick Perry

$1,336,316.18

$139,407.77

10%

Martin O'Malley

$3,234,569.24

$226,725.56

7%

Lindsey Graham

$3,037,200.49

$200,048.86

7%

George Pataki

$389,308.85

$24,217.87

6%

Jeb Bush

$24,779,029.78

$1,244,622.73

5%

Chris Christie

$4,208,164.43

$141,428.13

3%

Jim Gilmore

$62,807.24

$757.24

1%

SOURCE: FEC filings

Who’s Raised The Most Cash from Small-Dollar Donors?

While Donald Trump is second among the presidential field in the percentage of money raised from small-dollar donors, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Cruz lead the field in the actual amount of money raised from donors giving $200 or less.

Indeed, the combined total of small-dollar gifts to Sanders and Carson alone -- $50.3 million -- is more than that of such donations to all their competitors combined -- $49.6 million.

small-dollar-donors


Small-Dollar Donors vs. Super PAC Donors

While some candidates, particularly Sanders and Carson, are raising the majority of their money from small-dollar donors, others are heavily relying on outside groups and super PACs to fund their campaigns.

For instance, Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, has received contributions from seven mega-donors that each equal or exceed the total the Bush campaign has raised from small-dollar donors.

small-dollar-donors2

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