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Obama's one big advantage going into 2012 election: fundraising

President Obama has raised $155 million for both his campaign and for the Democratic National Committee. That's way more than all the Republican candidates have raised, combined.

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President Obama greets supporters after speaking during a Democratic campaign fundraiser in Orlando, Fla., on Oct.11. So far he has raised $155 million for both his campaign and for the Democratic National Committee – more than all the Republican candidates have raised, combined.

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President Obama faces an uphill battle for reelection, with unemployment projected to remain high at about 9 percent through 2012 and job approval ratings in the tank.

But as an incumbent president facing no primary challenger, Mr. Obama enjoys one big advantage: fundraising. So far, he has raised $155 million for both his campaign and for the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which will help his reelection effort. That’s way more than all the Republican candidates have raised, combined.

All that money allows the Obama campaign to start organizing now in the key battleground states, renew contacts with the 2008 voters, and recruit volunteers. The Republicans, meanwhile, are still figuring out who their nominee will be.

Obama’s advantage comes not just in the quantity of money he has raised, but in the opportunity for efficiency. Thus, an early emphasis on high-dollar fundraisers, because each one is a three-fer: In one fell swoop, Obama is pulling in cash for his opponent-free primary season, the general election, and the DNC. If a donor maxes out on all three, that’s $35,800.

“When you’re president, you don’t have time to do two fundraisers a day,” says Anthony Corrado, an expert on campaign finance at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. “[The big fundraisers] allow them to be very efficient with the principals’ time – not just the president, but also the first lady and vice president.”

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