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

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Another reason to hit the high rollers early: The $30,800 donation limit to the DNC is annual. The Democrats want their big donors to give this year, so they can ask for another $30,800 next year.

For other reasons, small donors are also critical. We don’t see a lot of press releases about the high-dollar events, but plenty of hoopla about how many folks have gone online and sent in even a few bucks.

The Obama campaign home page has a big ticker at the top counting the number of donors. On Monday, the campaign was so excited about reaching its one-millionth donor that press secretary Ben Label sent out a screen shot of the ticker close to 1,000,000 and then another one when it was at exactly 1,000,000.

Last Thursday, in an e-mail to supporters, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina highlighted the number of people who donated in the third quarter of this year – a record 606,027 – before getting to the grand total of money raised, $70 million to the campaign and DNC. Those who donated made 766,000 donations, with 98 percent of them at $250 or less. The average donation was $56.

“That support translates directly to what we can do on the ground,” Mr. Messina writes. “In the past three months we’ve grown our organizing staff by 50 percent, and opened up three new field offices every week. Thousands of volunteers and organizers made 3 million phone calls and in-person visits to voters.”

Donations from the financial services sector present a mixed picture for Obama and the Democrats. The president has raised $15.6 million from employees of that industry, according to an analysis by the Washington Post of data from the Center for Responsive Politics. But some $12 million went to the DNC.

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