Chart: Rhode Islanders donate $1.3M to presidential candidatesOctober 25th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Rhode Islanders have donated $1.3 million to 12 presidential candidates during the 2012 election cycle, and 59% of the money – $769,922 – has gone to the Democratic incumbent, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Republican Mitt Romney has raised $447,199 in Rhode Island, taking 34% of the state’s total donations.
The third- and fourth-biggest recipients were Republicans Ron Paul ($38,350) and – somewhat surprisingly – Rick Santorum ($16,589). Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry each got less than $10,000 from Rhode Islanders.
Tiny Rhode Island ranks 47th in total presidential campaign donations this cycle on the center’s list, with only Delaware ($1.3 million), Alaska ($1.2 million), South Dakota ($849,896) and North Dakota ($586,983) giving less. On a per capita basis Rhode Island ranks 31st, with $1,313 donated per 1,000 residents, according to the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics.
The geography of the donations provides a window into Rhode Islanders’ political preferences and, to some extent, where wealth is concentrated in the state.
The largest source of local funds by far was Providence’s East Side (02906), which has given $208,613 to Obama but just $21,975 to Romney, a whopping 9-to-1 ratio. Michelle Obama headlined a fundraiser at former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino’s house in that neighborhood last September.
By contrast, Romney has raised nearly twice as much as Obama on the southern side of Newport (02840), the state’s second-ranked zip code for campaign cash, accumulating $86,177 to Obama’s $46,315 after attending a fundraiser there last July.
Donors in Barrington (02806) and downtown Providence (02903) favor Obama over Romney, but East Greenwich (02818) is a true battleground: its residents have given $39,000 to Romney and $38,097 to Obama. But to put those numbers in perspective, Obama has raised more money on just the East Side of Providence than he has in the next four zip codes combined.
The pace of presidential fundraising in Rhode Island this cycle is muted compared with 2008, when local Democrats were drawn in by the long primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton while the GOP had its own contest. Rhode Islanders donated $2.6 million to 21 presidential candidates in 2008, double the amount they’ve given this year.
The 2008 leaders were Obama ($1.2 million) and Clinton ($560,309) – the former first lady actually outraised Republican nominee John McCain ($305,509) in the state. Romney, who raised $118,034 in Rhode Island in 2008, has also already raised significantly more money in the state this cycle than McCain did last time.
• Related: RI’s top Obama fundraiser Jeff Padwa gearing up for 2012 (April 26, 2011)