Thursday, April 20, 2006

Feingold's Progressive Patriots contributions spike

Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund has seen a substantial spike in contributions in March, following Feingold's call for a censure of President Bush on March 12. The increase in contributions was especially large for non-itemized individual contributions, those less than $200 (and less that a yearly total of $200 for the individual donor.) I speculate that much of this is from web-based receipts, but it could be from checks in the mail as well.

The Progressive Patriots fund relied primarily on larger contributions (almost all itemized) through the first thee quarters of 2005. In the last quarter non-itemized contributions rose to an average of $25,000 per month. (I'm unclear whether the late 2005 spike in itemized contributions, especially in December, was the result of reporting small donors who went over the $200 total requirement late in the year, or was a genuine spike in larger donations. This might be a bit of an artifact because of that.)

In any case the January totals were not markedly increased but February saw a doubling of non-itemized small donations and these doubled again in March. Smaller donations outpaced itemized donations for the first time in February and by a still wider margin in March.

Of course, this is probably also the result of ramping up the Progressive Patriots web site, but the timing of the censure proposal is hard to ignore in the March surge.

Feingold got a pretty bad reaction from congressional Democrats after his censure proposal, but it bought him the two things lesser-known potential presidential candidates need most: money and visibility. If President Bush's approval ratings remain where they are now, or fall further, for the next 20 months or so, the censure call may well be a prescient move.

Fred Frommer of the AP wrote this story
which stimulated me to look at the data. Earlier Frommer wrote this piece on reaction among Democratic voters compared to members of congress.

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