President Barack Obama’s April fundraising total dropped almost 20 percent from the $53 million scored in March, falling to only $43.6 million.
That jarring drop helps explain why Obama has curbed his criticism of Wall Street donors, and increased his efforts to spur donations from gay supporters.
On May 9, he announced his support for single-sex marriage, boosting donations from gay-friendly donors in Hollywood and New York.
That marriage decision will likely boost his May fundraising, but has already damaged his support among critical swing-voting independents, according to several polls.
A new New York Times poll, for example, showed Obama at 43 percent support, slightly behind Gov. Mitt Romney. That poll also showed Obama losing women to Romney, and that there is only a tiny pool of undecided voters — 3 percent — who might be persuaded that Obama’s record is good.
The Republican National Committee jumped on the additional bad news from Obama’s campaign.
“Barack Obama is still the Fundraiser-In-Chief but even he is struggling to sell the American people on his brand of Hype and Blame that has left millions without jobs, a struggling housing situation and record deficits and debt for future generations,” said a statement from RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
The month’s take of $43.6 million is also only slightly greater than Obama’s receipts when he was first running for president.
In April 2008, his campaign raised $31.9 million.
Donations to GOP allies, however, are growing.
For example, a right-of-center advocacy group, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies announced May 16 a $25 million, four-week ad buy to “to frame the national debate on jobs, the economy, ObamaCare and government debt.”
The hard-hitting ad contrasts Obama’s promises to his actions while president.
In a video released May 16, Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina tried to make lemonade out of the bad news by highlighting the role of small donors.
“We had 169,500 first-time donors in April—putting us within reach of 2 million donors this election cycle,” he said.
“Here’s my favorite part: our average donation was $50.23, with 98 percent of those donations $250 or less. That makes our campaign different, and it’s how we’re going to build a winning organization across the country,” he said.
Left unsaid by Messina is the impact of the campaign’s online lotteries, which ask donors to send in $3 or $5 in exchange for a chance to meet Obama or actor George Clooney. Those many lottery donations drag down the average value of each donation without greatly broadening the number of people who donate to the campaign.