[Posted by WLS]
I have written three posts that questioned whether the fundraising totals announced by the Obama campaign, records though they might well be, nevertheless fell short of what the Obama campaign itself planned on raising, and how a shortfall against their expectations would impact their campaign strategy.
Well, along comes the NYT yesterday and validates my very thesis. Among the quotes from the piece are the following:
When Mr. Obama decided in June to bypass the $84 million in public financing for the general election, campaign officials calculated that to make it worth the additional time he would need to devote off the campaign trail to fund-raising, they needed to raise two to three times the $84 million.
They set out a goal of raising $300 million for the campaign and $180 million for the Democratic Party, several fund-raisers said, or about $100 million a month.
The targets hewed closely with what Obama advisers also cited in interviews as their anticipated budget for the general election, but a spokesman for the campaign insisted on Tuesday that its fund-raising was on target and denied that $100 million a month was ever a real goal, or that the campaign was having problems recruiting Clinton donors.
In July, Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee took in about $77 million. That swamped the $53 million Mr. McCain and the Republican National Committee collected. But it was for a second straight month significantly off the pace Obama officials had set.
In June, when Mrs. Clinton suspended her campaign, Clinton and Obama officials estimated they might be able to collect $50 million to $75 million or more from Clinton donors. They appear to be nowhere near that.
Indeed, a New York Times analysis of Federal Election Committee records found that Clinton donors contributed roughly $2 million to the Obama campaign in July, similar to what they gave in June. The amount is not insubstantial, but it appears to fall short of targets originally envisioned by Obama fund-raisers.
I said that to meet the fundraising goals that the Obama campaign announced or itself, Obama alone needed to raise about $65 million a month. Every month he fell short meant the months to follow had to be even higher.
We know that Obama has a paid campaign staff roughly 4x bigger than the Bush re-election staff in 2004, and that his burn rate in July was $2 million a day. We also know that Obama canceled paid advertising in 7 GOP states that his campaign claimed it was going to compete in.
I don’t see anything at the convention that will lead big money Clinton donors to be any more generous than they have. Obama is going to have to settle for having less cash, or he’s going to have to spend more time than planned on fundraising in Sept. and October.
And, I’ll make the same point I’ve made before — in 10 days John McCain is going to have a campaign warchest of about $175 million. Obama will have around $100 million — maybe less.
With that kind of funding advantage, McCain is going to be much better situated to dominate paid media in the opening weeks of the campaign, which will give him an opportunity to establish the narrative of the campaign.