Thursday, August 24, 2006

Another trip in the fundraising spincycle

As was the talk on the blogsphere last night and this morning, the LPC messed up the release of updated leadership fundraising numbers yesterday. I’m not sure of the accuracy of these figures, but let’s assume they are for now.

There’s been some spin of the numbers in a bad way for my guy, but I really think that’s a shortsighted and inaccurate way of looking at the numbers. In fact, I think the big winners here are Stephane Dion and Gerard Kennedy.

But first, let’s look at the total figures reported yesterday,:

UPDATE: These numbers are more of a mess then I'd initially realized and frankly, it's tough to make sense of it all. Some numbers the LPC released have been updated by the candidates to July 31st, some haven't.

The Rae figure reported below is from the campaign until July 31st. The Ignatieff figure is from the LPC release reported as of July 31st, reports from his campaign say that figure is low, but I haven't heard another number. Kennedy's number was updated by his campaign to August 12th, so that skews these numbers somewhat. Volpe is current to July 31st, updated by the campaign. Brison, Dion and Bennett's numbers were updated by their campaigns below as of Aug. 22. Dryden, Hall-Findlay and Fry are from the release as of July 31st, Dryden's camp says the true number is over $100k.

So where does that leave all these nice little charts I made this morning? Worth even less than earlier. Still, I think the basic trends the numbers indicate are still valid. Even if it's not a true apples to apples comparison, it's still fair to say Kennedy has been doing well, and Dion has made a strong comeback. The bottom four still have some decisions to make. Just take it all with a few more grains of salt.

I apologize for the confusion.


OK, not many surprises, Rae and Ignatieff still the leaders, and Volpe is up there. Kennedy with a very strong showing . The back four still well back. The concern I’ve heard expressed is Dion still lagging well back of the leaders, and how will he ever pay back all those loans. While I do wonder why they structured the campaign that way (actually, I suspect starting further back of the pack with less first choice support meant a smaller team that had to focus more on memberships than fundraising in phase one, and is now building both momentum, support and fundraising), I’m far from ready to panic yet. In fact, I'm optimistic, and even confident.

Because here’s another, more revealing and illustrating way to look at it. Let’s compare the fundraising numbers circa July 31st to the fundraising numbers reported a month ago that were current as of June 30th, and rank the candidates by $ increase over that one month period.

Well, that certainly puts a different spin on things, doesn't it? It was a big month for Kennedy; if fundraising is any indicator rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated. While they started with big leads, Ignatieff and Rae were at the back of the contender pack this month. Volpe, Brison and Dion well back of Kennedy but all within $8k. Again, the bottom four well back of the rest.

Just a note, as I’m said I’m not sure of the accuracy of these figures, esp. since it shows Fry’s numbers went down. Grain of salt.

And finally, let’s take a look at the percentage increase when we compare the June numbers to the July numbers. This will illustrate one of those oh so important factors in politics: momentum.

Now that’s definitely interesting. It was a huge month for Dion, with a large increase in fundraising activity in July and a whopping 380 per cent increase in donations. Clearly, a) the campaign is placing more emphasis on fundraising with the membership deadline passed, as it said it would, and b) as people evaluate the field many of them are coming over to the Dion camp. A very impressive performance by Kennedy as well, Brison is still a contender, and Volpe continues his fundraising strength. Interestingly, Ignatieff and Rae lag back by this indicator, indicating that either a) their momentum is slowing, or b)they’ve tapped their major sources and/or met their numbers and are slowing down their fundraising machines. Again, the bottom four lag well back.

So, there’s a lot of numbers for you to chew on. What does it all mean? Hey, who knows. As I’ve said before, no one needs to amass huge war chests. You only need to raise and spend so much to be a contender and have a shot in Montreal, anything over a certain figure just means sausage rolls instead of cocktail wieners in the hospitality suites.

I’m confident that with the momentum he has shown and the fundraisers held this month and still scheduled Dion will be just fine. Clearly the fundraising momentum is on his side. Kennedy should have put himself back among the top contenders, not that he ever left them in my estimation. Brison showed strength, Volpe as well, and Rae and Ignatieff had already established their standing.

If I took anything from these many numbers, it would be that Bennett, Dryden, Hall-Findlay and Fry have some hard thinking to do. Clearly their fundraising is drying up. They need to consider if they’ve raised enough to get through to December and Montreal. If they can do it, go for it. If they haven’t, they should consider bidding adieu before delegate selection in late September.

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BW said...


the only thing I'd disagree with is that you should probably take into account effort, too. If the Rae and Iggy campaigns had already built their war chest up enough, they may have relaxed in July, while those in need pressed the accelerator. I still believe overall totals are a better indication of support, at least financial support.
However I do agree that there's a new starting line in Montreal.

Jeff said...

A valid point Bob, but I think I made it when I said "(Rae and Ignatieff) tapped their major sources and/or met their numbers and are slowing down their fundraising machines." And dido Dion's acceleration, I think with a smaller organization they focused more on membership in the first phase, while the bigger camps could do both. In phase two, and with growing momentum behind the campaign, they've kicked it up a few notches.

Steve V said...

Great job Jeff! My only quibble would be the percentage numbers comparing the two months. The percentages are exaggerated as a function of the initial figure. If you start out low it benefits the percentage, and if you start out high it handicaps the percentage change. I think the real dollars raised in between the two periods gives a more accurate reflection of momentum

Jeff said...

Steve, that's why I included both, but I think the percentage numbers are telling as well, because the fact Dion started from so far back is relevant.

CL, crap, thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't noticed the numbers were to different dates. Looks like I have some more math to do.

Manley Man said...

The Campbell Clark article was pretty bad, full of induendo trying to turn the campaign into the two horse race.

Steve V said...


Don't sweat the numbers. I think it would be easier to figure out cold fusion than this mess that was released.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting really tired of this obsessive focus on the fundraising, etc.

How about policies people.

Ted Betts said...

Great work, Jeff. You worked away, ground the numbers this way and that, compared apples to brocolli (as you admit), and finally found the one way to report the fundraising numbers that showed Dion on top!!


All kidding aside, I think very very little can be taken from these numbers, especially percentage increases. If I raised $100 in June and then $100,000 in July, I might be proud of increasing my funds by 1000% but my leadership chances would still be pretty much dead.

Don't forget, Ignatieff's numbers being only the funds raised to July 31 when he was on vacation not doing any fundraising activity for much of that month.

Still, while the numbers are useless for comparison against other candidates, it is still good news for Kennedy and Dion (though less so).


Anonymous said...

I am more interesting in who's supporting each candidate - the quality of the MP, Senator, etc. The $ numbers at this point don't mean a thing because they'll constantly change.

Ted Betts said...


Funny you should say that. Today I posted a list of caucus endorsements on the Cerberus Caucus Endorsements Page.


Jeff said...

On the contrary Ted, I think if you raised $100 in June and $100,000 in July it's a sign you've COME BACK from the dead. Born again, you might even say.

As for vacations, hey, everyone's entitled to one. Dion took a vacation himself recently, albiet much shorter, and he stayed in the country. Probably spent it playing with Kyoto.

But if you or Brad want to send me your fundraising totals to Aug. 22, I'd be happy to post them here so we can compare brussels sprout to brussels sprout. :)