Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Campaigning By The Numbers

Source: Saskatchewan NDP: Financial Reports

Well, the first financial report for the Saskatchewan NDP race has come and revealed a few interesting things. I've provided the link to the direct website, but we'll include the numbers here as well. Now, I've spoken before about my disdain for mathematics, but there's some numbers that need to be crunched here a little so I'm going to give it the old college try.

Should anyone notice any problems with my numbers, please let me know.

*As there were some initial errors with this post, I am undertaking a edit to fix this. Please note that when a number of donors is listed, that number refers to people who donated over $250, not the complete total number of donors.

So, we'll start with Cam Broten.

Cam raised $19,694.99 from 14 donors, and spent $11,162.18 for the month of September. Removing donations from the candidate, family members (I'm guessing by last name according to the reports and as such, may have missed family with different last names), and campaign managers, Cam's actual total of donations comes in at $10,694.99. It is also worth noting that Cam received $1,500 from a union, but he is hardly the only candidate to have received donations from a union.

That brings us to Ryan Meili.

Ryan raised $13,188.81 from 11 donors, and spent $8,252.18 for the month of September. Again removing donations from the candidate, family, and campaign managers, Ryan's actual total of donations comes in at $12,271.44. It is also worth noting that Ryan received $3,000 from a business, as opposed to a union.

On to Erin Weir.

Erin raised $14,666.89 from 9 donors, and spent $14,392.27 for the month of September. Removing donations from the candidate, family and campaign managers, Erin's actual total of donations comes in at $8,584.89. Erin also received an in-kind donation of $1,190 from a union.

And finally, Trent Wotherspoon.

 Trent raised $15,368.00 from 10 donors and spent $26,792.34 for the month of September. Removing donations from the candidate, family and campaign managers, Trent's actual total of donations come in at $4,868. Trent also seemed to have received $1,500 from a union and $1,496 from various corporations.

So, what do the numbers tell us?

Let's focus on Trent first, as his campaign is the only one currently running into the negatives. With the amount of travel Trent has done in the first month of the campaign, this isn't that much of a surprise. I would expect that as travel becomes more important during the course of the campaign, the other candidates will incur similar expenses.

Also, given the fact that Trent has thus far garnered most of his financial support from corporate donations suggest that if he continues to make inroads within the business community, he should be able to correct a deficit status in his campaign fairly quickly.

Also of note is the fact that few endorsers appear across many of the candidates' returns. I would imagine that as the campaign crunch begins, more endorsers will step out of the woodwork with their pocketbooks to help out their supported candidates.

Now is where we get into the real number crunching.

*Due to errors in this section, please refer to the Campaigning by the Numbers, Redux  post.

The 'small campaign', I think, is a good gauge that shows the average supporter. Given that this is the first release, there's no real conclusion that can be drawn from the numbers, but what we can say is this: Right now, it seems that all of the campaigns have done well in attracting donations from the average member.
The average party member falls in this contribution level (below $250 to just below $500), and without their support (financial and on the ballot) a campaign is in pretty dire straits.

While is this not a direct be-all-end-all that shows support of the average member for a candidate, it does at least show some groundswell of support for a campaign. And that groundswell is what helps a campaign build on the other campaign donation levels.

So, looking at the middle and high level donations, we see that this seems to be where the bulk of donations have come from thus far. This is not surprising, given that the start of a campaign requires a certain amount of capital and we're likely to see these numbers decrease as the race continues. All of the campaigns did fairly well at getting this original influx of capital to their campaigns, but I don't think any of them can hope to rely on singularly large donations as the race continues; hence, again, why the 'small campaign' is so important.

And now for the final analysis.

When we look at the actual donations (candidate, family, campaign members, etc. removed from donation totals), despite having fewer donors, Ryan Meili's campaign has come out ahead with their total of $12,271.44.

Cam's campaign then goes from first overall to second, with a total of $10,694.99. Erin comes in third with $8,584.89, and Trent rounds out the pack with $4,868.

Now, some might say it's pedantic to remove certain donations from the grand totals...And while there is an argument for that, I think we get a better picture of support for a campaign and overall momentum when we take away those tied to the campaign and see what the numbers are; hence, why I've done what I've done.

I don't know if we'll do a post like this for all of the financial reports, but we shall see what the future holds.


Anonymous said...

Hey Scott. You are actually wrong about the number of donors making up all of your totals. The donors disclosed are only those who donate $250 or greater. So the # of donors is actually much higher than the #s you are using in your analysis. Only the higher end donors are disclosed.

Scott said...

Hi Anonymous,

Yes, I made a right proper mistake on that one; the consequences of doing a blogpost too close to bed time perhaps.

Either way, the undisclosed donors issue has been addressed (and hopefully) corrected with the following post: http://saskatchewanpolitalk.blogspot.ca/2012/10/campaigning-by-numbers-redux.html