Grass-Roots Donations and Momentum

Does the intensity of grass-roots donations greatly depend on public momentum? Ron Paul’s contributors do not seem to abide by this, but it seems as though we cannot say for sure. If Paul did manage to gain some political momentum, we could assess whether or not this increased his grass-roots contributions.

One candidate that seems to offer much to this theory is Barack Obama. As he gains public momentum in the national polls and the accumulation of delegates, this seems to have energized his grass-roots supporters. In an email to supporters, Obama explained that over 90% of his donations were under $100. These contributions might be largely done through individuals who get “fired up and ready to go.”

Before the Iowa caucuses, Obama’s campaign said they had received 500,000 different contributions. Since then, they have recorded over 224,000 additional ones. These numbers suggest that as Obama has gained successes, his internet support has exponentially increased as well.

His momentum is continuing to increase in the national and public circles. According a washingtonpost blog,

“Rep. John Larson today became the first senior member of the House Democratic leadership to endorse a presidential candidate, and his pick is Sen. Barack Obama. The Connecticut lawmaker, who serves as vice chairman of the House Democratic caucus, expects to campaign back home with Obama early next week, in advance of his state’s Feb. 5 primary. Also announcing for Obama this morning: Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), a close friend of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Eshoo joins another Californian and Pelosi pal, Rep. George

Miller, on the Obama bandwagon. Rep. Xavier Becerra, an up-and-coming lawmaker from Los Angeles, is yet another Pelosi ally supporting Obama. Pelosi has said firmly that she won’t pick sides. But she sounded almost giddy talking about Ted Kennedy’s support for the Illinois senator in an interview with her hometown newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle (which also
endorsed Obama). “Did you ever see anything like that?” Pelosi said. “Transferring the mantle from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama. It was the most stunning thing. I mean, I couldn’t take my eyes off it.” Reps. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) also endorsed Obama today.”

Obama Picks Up House Endorsements

In addition to these political movements, MoveOn.org issued a request from its over 5 million members to vote for which candidate to support. They will give their endorsement this Friday. If the grass-roots influence works in unison among MoveOn.org’s members, the growing momentum for Obama will tip the organization’s movement in his favor. MoveOn.org’s grass-root’s power could only further Obama’s power from individual supporters nationwide.

The debate tonight could be a good testing ground for this theory. How much do emotions impact contributons? There is quite a lot of data to suggest that it there is a great amount of influence– and for a campaign set out to inspire and “fire people up,” the financial possibilities could be limitless.