Monday, May 03, 2010

It's that time of the year again...

...quarter 1 fundraising numbers are out! Yay!

The Conservatives have outfundraised all of the opposition parties, combined, in the first quarter of 2010. According to the first quarter returns, just posted on Elections Canada’s website, the Conservatives have raised $4,023,923.14 from 32,466 donors. That’s $2,846,507 more than the other parties, including the Greens.

The Liberals raised $1,589,953.81 in the first quarter from 15,255 people, while the Bloc Québécois raised $123, 069.64 from 1,381 people and the NDP raised $900,198.01 from 12,982. The Green Party raised $233,285.57 from 2,919 donors.


Even though most news stories, including the above, will spin this as good news for the Conservatives, the numbers are probably most disappointing for them.

As the always-useful Pundits Guide shows, the number of Conservative donors is down 18% from Quarter 1 last year, while the number of Liberal donors has stayed relatively consistent. The drop in the amount raised by the Liberals merely reflects an absence of the big ticket fundraisers we saw at the start of last year - presumably the usual suspects will get hit up for their thousand dollars at some point this year.

Of course, context is always key. Remember the "grassroots fury" and the thousands of Canadians up in arms over prorogation? Well, maybe that led to a drop in Tory donations, but it did little to increase the number of people donating money to the opposition parties.

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8 Comments:

  • I'm not sure the swings are based on what is happening this year so much as they were about what happened in the first quarter last year: The Liberals were in the process of not electing a new leader, after the coalition fiasco.

    By Blogger Paul, at 10:53 PM  

  • Many Conservative Party members, including myself, believe that a party does not deserve donations simply because we are allowed to give each year. Should the possibility of an election come up we will give, that possibility is next to zero this year.
    It's not that we do not support the CPC just that we don't blindly give to an already well funded organization simply because we can. When election time comes again you will see CPC donations grow faster then any other group.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:45 PM  

  • Paul - good point, but even if you go back to Q1 over the past 4 or 5 years, the Tories have traditionally done better than this year.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:52 AM  

  • The "grassroots fury" was failed NDP candidates organizing protests on Facebook. I think the Tories spendthrift ways are causing some supporters to cut back on donations. Some Blogging Tories seem to be unhappy.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 12:10 PM  

  • CG, not "traditionally done better" but "always done better". This is their lowest Q1 since 2004 both in terms of dollars and donors.

    It is in the donor numbers you get some interesting information. The Conservatives are down 20% and even more from their high of about 60,000 donors in 2006 after the election. Especially concerning would be the drop off of small donors: increasingly, the Conservatives are relying on big donors.

    You might say Canadians were hit by the recession, but that doesn't bear out when you look at the opposition parties.

    The Liberals gain a slight bit in terms of number of donors, but those donors gave less. The NDP and Bloc tread water.

    So Conservatives can cheer that their Death Star fundraising outrage machine is still crushing the opposition. Or they can see that growing their party into a majority - which I'm guessing is their desire, all actions by Harper and his cabinet to the contrary - is rapidly slipping away.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 3:16 PM  

  • It's takes some serious spin to claim that the Conservatives' cash drop of 8% over last year is worse than the Liberals' drop of 20%...

    increasingly, the Conservatives are relying on big donors

    The Conservatives got 38% of their donations from over-$200 donors. The Liberals? 56%.

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 2:02 AM  

  • Where did I say they are doing worse?

    Obviously the recession - the economic recession and the leadership recession - are hurting the Liberals dollar numbers. So was the fact they did not hold a major fundraiser the entire Q1.

    What is interesting to me is that, despite the leadership and polling troubles, Liberal supporters are growing.

    What is equally interesting is that, since 2006, the number of Canadians willing to part with their money and give it to the Conservatives continues to go down. Take out elections and the coalition madness, and the number of people who support the Conservatives with their money has gone down almost 50%.

    As for small donors, there again the Conservatives' numbers have gotten worse and the Liberals better.

    But the main point is: if beating the Liberals is your objective, then you have clear sailing.

    But if growing your vote count (it went down from 2006 to 2008) and your seat count is your objective, then things are not looking good.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 11:38 AM  

  • Where did I say they are doing worse?

    I was referring to the original post, not your comment.

    Obviously the recession - the economic recession and the leadership recession - are hurting the Liberals dollar numbers. So was the fact they did not hold a major fundraiser the entire Q1.

    All of that applies to the Conservatives as well - with the possible exception of the "leadership recession", since I'm not sure what you're referring to.

    If you meant "leadership election", that was way back in Q2 2009, so how would that affect Q1 2010 donations?

    What is equally interesting is that, since 2006, the number of Canadians willing to part with their money and give it to the Conservatives continues to go down. Take out elections and the coalition madness, and the number of people who support the Conservatives with their money has gone down almost 50%.

    Wrong.

    2005: 166,976 donations
    2006: 163,416 donations
    2007: 159,122 donations
    2008: 174,438 donations
    2009: 154,438 donations

    I can't say there's any discernible pattern there, much less a 50% decrease.

    (Also note that we only know the number of donations, not the number of donors, so someone who gives $50 twice in a year would count twice as much in this statistic as someone who gives $100 once.)

    As for small donors, there again the Conservatives' numbers have gotten worse and the Liberals better.

    Sort of. The number of small Liberal donations went up by 3.7% over Q1 last year, but their average donation size went down by 14.5% (revenue down 11.4%). For the Conservatives, it was the opposite: their number of donations went down by 19.1%, but their average size went up 6.3% (revenue down 14.0%).

    But if growing your vote count (it went down from 2006 to 2008) and your seat count is your objective, then things are not looking good.

    Okay, a couple things:

    1) Yes, due to lower voter turnout, the raw Conservative vote went down by 3.1%. But by your logic, the Liberals are even more doomed, since they went down by a whopping 18.9%. (The NDP went down 2.9%.)

    2) More importantly, your entire premise here is flat out wrong. Donations numbers tell us virtually nothing about their ability to "grow their party into a majority" (i.e. win over swing voters). What they do tell is is how motivated that party's base is. So what we actually see here is that the Conservative base was less motivated in early 2010 than they were a year before. (The same is true for the Liberals, albeit to a lesser extent.)

    However, given that the Conservative base is still 174% more motivated than the Liberal base as of last quarter, I don't think I'd start writing their obituary just yet...

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 5:03 AM  

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