By now, most people have seen the most important numbers from the 2008 Presidential election: Electoral vote: Obama 364 and McCain 163; popular vote: Obama 53% – 66,495,308and McCain 46% – 58,123,419. A n electoral landslide and an 8 million majority in the popular vote is not too shabby. What makes these numbers even more impressive and off tremendous historic importance is that the victor was a man of color!
But these numbers are not the only ones of historic significance for US Presidential elections. Although it is still early for definitive statistics, I want to take a quick look at some other historic numbers for this Presidential election.
The statistics on voter turnout are still pretty sketchy but it appears, at least in terms of raw humblers, that the 2008 Federal election is in the history books with the largest number of people voting ever, beating the 2004 Federal election by more than half a million.
The 2008 Federal election also goes into the history books as having the largest number of people of voting age ever. Unfortunately, at this point there are no numbers for how many of those people were actually registered, but I suspect that it will be quite large. Heck, even my brother, who has been eligible to vote for several decades but never registered, went and registered this year and voted for the first time in his life. At a very personal level, that makes this election very historic!
The most significant number of Election 2008 may be the amount of money the Obama campaign raised. For the first time in US history, the Presidential candidates raised over a billion dollars with Obama raising over $600 million. What makes that number even more astounding is that $579 million came from individual contributions, while only $1280 came from political action committees (PAC), none of it was his own money, and none of it was our tax money. I have not found a complete breakdown on where specifically that $579 million in personal contributions came from, but I am guessing most of it was raised via the Internet. Obama may very well be most remembered by history as the person who changed the rules for election funding.
To put Obama’s fund raising in context, John McCain raised $330 million, with only about half ][$160 million] from individual donations. He used none of his own money, and raised $1.4 million in PAC money, and took a little more than $84 million of our tax dollars to fund his campaign. For more detailed information on the dollars the candidates raised. click here.
Both candidates had significant amounts listed as “Other” whatever that means, maybe selling t-shirts, mugs, whatever. Obama had $60 million listed there and McCain had almost $79 million.
Looking at those numbers you can see that Obama raised 91% of his money from private individual contributions, while McCain only 54%.That is an astounding statistic and one that probably has not been matched by any Presidential candidate in more than a century, if not longer. I hope that when the number crunchers and bureaucrats at the Federal Election Commission finally get done, we will a some very etailed analysis of the individual contributions category for both candidates. I’m not that find of number crunching, but I think the financial numbers for this election ill tell a very interesting story.