Where the big donors come from (and where they don’t), in one chart

September 11, 2012

The voters who will decide the next president come from swing states, but the big donors who largely fund the presidential campaigns don't.

According to the handy graphic below from the nonpartisan fundraising Web site Rally.org, the five places with the biggest average donation are all highly noncompetitive at the presidential level: Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, New York and -- wait for it -- Wyoming (?).

In all five of those states, the average donation processed by Rally.org is $150 or more. And the highest average donation comes from Connecticut, in which donors give an average of a whopping $255.

Of the eight states rated as swing states by The Fix, five feature an average donation of between $100 and $150, while three feature an average donation of less than $100.

Now, just because a state gives a higher average dollar amount than another doesn't mean it gives more money overall -- though that is definitely the case with states like New York or Connecticut. But it's interesting to see how the big donations tend to come from the big states with urban centers, while more rural, southern and Rust Belt states feature smaller average donations.

Generally, the size of the average donation seems to reflect the wealth of that particular state.

Which makes Wyoming's inclusion among the states with the biggest average donation odd. The others are blue states clustered around urban areas on the East Coast, which is about as far from Wyoming -- distance-wise and demographic-wise -- as you can get.

But while the biggest donors came from blue states, the next level down ($100-150 average donation) featured 13 red states and 12 blue states. And even many rural states rank in this middle-of-the-road category.

And while the largest average donation came from Connecticut, the smallest came from another northeastern blue state: Maine ($73).

The data are based on more than one million donations processed by Rally.org, which does online fundraising for many federal candidates and causes on both sides of the aisle.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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