Interesting things to Brag About

Jul 20, 2012 - OPINION
We are just starting to build Elizabeth Warren's profile for the Massachussets Senate race. She is an extremely impressive person and the amount of data that is available on her will provide a good basis for voters to judge who is best in November. There are a number of videos already up for her and they range back a number of years.
One interesting thing that we saw on her website was a banner that advertised how great the grassroots level of Mrs Warren's campaign was last quarter. The banner noted that Mrs Warren got $8.67 million in donations last quarter with 52% of donations being $25 or less and 81% being $50 dollars or less. It also notes that of all four quarters there have been 40,500 donors. I thought the wording of that phrase was a little odd, after all why brag about the amount raised last quarter and then use the number of donors from the entire year and not that quarter.
Some quick math and a little digging showed that it didn't really matter how the phrase was worded, small donations don't make up a significant portion of Mrs Warren's donations.
Assuming that those 40,500 people were equally distributed over all four quarters gives you a little over 10,000 people donating money in the second quarter. Raise that number a little to account for increased attention as the campaign has gone on and you could get around 15,000 people. We'll use 20,000 donors last quarter just to be sure.
At 20,000 donors with 52% being at 25$ or less and 81% being $50 dollars or less then the maximum amount of money those people could combine to give would be $550,000 of that $8.67 million total - or 6.3% of that amount. The average amount for the remaining 19% of donors (3,800 people) would then be $2,137.
It's worth noting that the maximum any person can contribute per year per candidate is $2,300. It's also worth noting that Elizabeth Warren's highest contributor to date has been the pro-choice advocacy group known as Emily's list. They have given over three hundred thousand dollars to Mrs Warren's campaign, more than any other candidate. In fact, that amount is almost twice as much as any other group has donated to Mrs Warren and almost twice as much as Emily's list has donated to any other candidate.
The truly sad thing about these numbers is that they aren't unusual at all. Every candidate takes money from a wide range of sources and although they may get a large number of donors, the amount that those people donate isn't statistically significant when compared the overall amount. Here, Mrs Warren is bragging about 6.3% of the money (guesstimate) coming from 81% of the people and 93.7% coming from the remaining 19%.

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