- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 13, 2011

President Obama’s campaign team announced Wednesday that he had raised $86 million for his re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee in the second quarter, blowing past the stated goal of $60 million Democrats had set.

And a new poll showed that Mr. Obama is holding together his winning grassroots coalition from 2008, with firm support from women, blacks and voters under age 35. Mr. Obama beat every potential Republican candidate in the survey by double digits except for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whom he edged by 47 percent to 41 percent.

Mr. Obama will have overwhelming support from the Democratic base, despite some unhappiness with some perhaps on the left wing,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced the fundraising results early Wednesday in a video release to supporters.

The total of $86 million is a record for the second quarter in an off year, eclipsing the $60 million raised by President George W. Bush and the Republican National Committee in 2003. It left no doubt about the sustained ability of Mr. Obama, who once pledged to abide by public financing limits for presidential elections, to rake in ever-higher amounts of cash.

Mr. Messina highlighted the campaign’s 552,462 donors, saying the campaign had “more grassroots support at this point in the process than any campaign in political history.”

He said the average donation was $69, and 98 percent of the contributions were less than $250. Among the pitches the campaign used was a raffle in which people gave $5 or more for a chance to have dinner with Mr. Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Itemized reports detailing the number of big-money donors won’t be filed with the government until Friday. The campaign also held several high-priced events, such as one in Philadelphia late last month at which couples paid up to $71,600.

Of the total, Mr. Messina said more than $47 million went to Obama for America and more than $38 million went to the DNC. Republican presidential candidates have raised about $35 million combined to date, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading the pack with $18.25 million. Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota, raised $4.2 million.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Mr. Obama excels at raising money from large donors, but his fundraising prowess can’t mask the president’s failure to create jobs.

“I don’t think any amount of money is going to save” the president, Mr. Priebus said on “Fox & Friends.”

Pointing to third-party fundraising by Republicans, Mr. Messina told supporters “we have reason to be proud of what we’ve built so far, but it’s going to get tougher from here. This is a whole new ballgame like we’ve never faced before.”

Independent groups not coordinating with the candidates are expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars this cycle for election advocacy.

Mr. Obama raised about $750 million for his campaign in 2008, and some Democrats have suggested he could top $1 billion in his re-election bid. Mr. Messina said the money haul will allow Chicago-based Obama for America to expand its reach beyond the more than 60 field offices it already is operating around the country.

The Quinnipiac poll showed the return of the “gender gap.” Female voters in 2010 had given Republican candidates a slight advantage for the first time in decades, but the poll shows Mr. Obama personally still enjoys huge margins among women voters over GOP contenders.

Against Mr. Romney, the president carries female voters 50 to 39, and loses men 45 to 44. Against Rep. Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, Mr. Obama leads among women 52 to 35 while also winning among men, 48 to 40.

Overall, women surveyed believe Mr. Obama deserves a second term by a 50 to 43 percent margin, while men in the poll said the president should not be reelected, by a margin of 51 to 43 percent.

“The gender gap is shaping up as a major factor in the 2012 presidential campaign, bigger perhaps than the 12-point swing in 2008,” Mr. Brown said.

In overall head-to-head matchups, Mr. Obama led Mrs. Bachmann 50 to 38 percent, led former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin by 53 to 34 percent, and led Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 50 to 37 percent.