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Democrats out-fundraising Republicans in 2024 election cycle despite Biden’s poor polling numbers

Does Money really equal votes? President Biden's campaign committees had $146 million cash on hand at the end of March, compared to former President Trump and the RNC’s $93.1 million. Yet Biden is behind Trump in national polling.

Published: May 7, 2024 11:17pm

Despite President Biden’s poor polling numbers, Democrats are out-fundraising Republicans in the 2024 election cycle where the GOP could retake the White House and Senate.

The Republican Party is significantly behind the Democratic Party in fundraising as former President Donald Trump is facing criminal charges on state and federal levels and Biden is viewed very unfavorably by Americans. However, the new Republican National Committee chairman is hopeful for the 2024 election as donations are starting to pour in amid Trump’s trials.

Biden raised $165 million over the first three months of the year, which is $75 million more than Trump, who raised just under $90 million, according to the Financial Times. To put these numbers in perspective, the per capita annual household income in Biden's home state of Delaware was $42,180 last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau which also notes Delaware also has a poverty rate of 9.4%.

The Democratic president had $146 million cash on hand at the end of March, compared to Trump and the RNC’s $93.1 million.

Early last month, Trump’s campaign said it raised $50.5 million at a fundraising event in Palm Beach, Fla., setting a new single-event fundraising record, the Associated Press reported. Biden’s campaign said it raised $26 million at a Radio City Music Hall event in March with former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. According to the Associated Press, the cheapest tickets went for $225, but more money got donors more intimate time with the presidents. A photo with all three was $100,000. A donation of $250,000 earned donors access to one reception, and $500,000 got them into an even more exclusive gathering

According to transparency watchdog Open Secrets’ most recent fundraising totals for Trump, the former president has raised $109,172,466. Meanwhile, Biden has raised $215,235,828. However, three of the top four campaign committees for Trump have spent more money than they raised, unlike the top groups for Biden, which raised more than they spent.

For the 2020 election, Biden had raised a record $1 billion, more than Trump's $774 million, which was in addition to the hundreds of millions the former president raised for the RNC and cash leftover from Trump’s joint fundraising committees that did not transfer to the main campaign.

Despite the higher fundraising, Biden is behind Trump in the polls.

According to the RealClearPolitics Poll Average, Trump is 1.2 points ahead of Biden, with the former at 46.1% and the latter at 44.9%.

During the same time period in the 2020 and 2016 presidential elections, Biden and Hillary Clinton were both ahead of Trump in the RCP poll average. Biden was 5.3 points ahead and Clinton was 6.5.

Biden’s job approval rating is also low, at 39.2%, with a disapproval rating of 56.3%, according to RCP. At the same point in Trump’s presidency, the Republican president had an approval rating of 44.6%. The record for the lowest presidential approval rating was George W. Bush in February of 2008. 

The GOP's fundraising issues have been partially attributed to then-RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

In February, prior to the ouster of McDaniel, Arizona RNC National Committeeman Tyler Bowyer told Just the News that “The RNC is in a bad financial situation.” He explained that in the RNC budget resolution that was passed, $5 million of a line of credit was included. While it’s “normal” for the RNC “to have line of credit,” what isn’t normal is “to have debt built into the budget,” Bowyer said

He added that adjusting for inflation, “last year was the lowest year of fundraising in 30 years for the RNC.”

Under the RNC’s new Trump-aligned leadership, however, the party has opened a joint fundraising account with the Trump campaign and worked to bolster its intake.

"Our campaign, working together with the RNC, has been steadily ramping up our fundraising efforts, and our March numbers are a testament to the overwhelming support for President Trump by voters all across the spectrum," Trump campaign co-manager Susie Wiles said in April.

“Republicans may not be beneficiaries of the self interested largess from Hollywood and Silicon Valley elites, but President Trump is proud to be supported by donations from voters who are the backbone of this nation, which will fuel Republicans up and down the ballot,” she added.

The RNC and Trump campaign combined brought in $65.6 million in March.

RNC Chairman Michael Whatley told the “Just the News, No Noise” TV show on Tuesday that fundraising is on the upswing since Trump became the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee.

He also said that the “business owners in America […] understand that Joe Biden has a war against American families, he's declared war on American businesses, and he's doing everything he can to kind of strangle the economy, you know, and really shut it down.”

Whatley said that “people are responding” to that, as “over 90% of our donations are coming in small dollar increments [...] Every single day that President Trump is in court, right now, we're making a million dollars in donations are coming in from all across the country because people realize that that ‘lawfare’ is being waged on them,” he added.

Whatley also said, “We had $75 million-plus that we raised in April” and that “We are absolutely on track to have the amount of money that we need to be able to get our message out to every American family and every American voter.” 

In Congress, Democratic candidates in highly competitive House districts have raised $970,000 on average over the first three months of the year, Axios reported. Republicans in those districts averaged just over $610,000 in fundraising during the same time.

In the first quarter, only four of the top 20 fundraisers in competitive districts were Republicans.

According to the RCP poll average for the generic congressional vote, Democrats are up 1.4 points over Republicans, 45.2% to 43.8%.

The House of Representatives is currently made up of 217 Republicans to 213 Democrats, with five vacant seats.

In Senate races, with 280 current candidates, Republicans have raised a total of $274,707,527, according to Open Secrets. However, Democrats, with their 183 candidates, have a total of $460,567,295 raised.

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the states he is primarily focusing on this Senate election cycle are Maryland, Montana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania because of the vulnerable Democratic seats.

According to RCP poll averages for the Pennsylvania candidates, incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D) and David McCormick (R), the incumbent is up by 5.3 points.

In Maryland, the front-runner Republican candidate is up over the front-runner Democrat, with former Gov. Larry Hogan at 6.5 points ahead of Rep. David Trone, according to RCP.

RCP didn't include polls for the Senate races in Montana and Ohio.

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