Princeton Election Consortium

A first draft of electoral history. Since 2004

Maximize your campaign leverage

August 9th, 2012, 9:00am by Sam Wang


Longtime readers know of my interest in maximizing the leverage of campaign donations. (This also motivates the Power Of Your Vote calculation in the right sidebar.)

Instead of the Presidential race, consider donating in Senate races, where six key races are likely to determine control in 2013 (FL, IN, MA, ND, VA, WI) (August 26th update). The probability of Democrats retaining control in 2013 is tricky to calculate, but currently I put it at 72-84%. Anything in the 20-80% range is a knife-edge situation. This probability is likely to shift as several key Republican primaries occur as voters focus on specific nominees. In this regard, Todd Akin winning Tuesday in Missouri was important.

If you’re a Democrat, visit myActBlue page. For Republicans, there’s the NRSC.

I will provide more analysis on this topic later.

Tags: 2012 Election · Senate

8 Comments so far ↓

  • Olav Grinde

    I thought polls showed Rehberg leading Tester 49–47? But then again, that’s a Rasmussen poll dating from mid-June…

    I look forward to seeing your meta-analyses of this and other Senate races later.

    Things really do hang in the balance in this election. On the one hand, I would think the Republican nomination of Tea Party or other relatively extremist candidates would favour Democrats. On the other hand, if more extremist Republicans are actually elected to the Senate, we can expect an even more destructive strategy of Gridlock.

  • Chris Bastian

    One comment on “maximizing” your contribution: Jon Tester’s race in Montana is considered one of the closest, and your $$ go a lot further given the media costs in Butte or Bozeman.

    • Sam Wang

      Available polling evidence suggests that Tester is not close at present. If the evidence changes, then I will point that out.

  • Robin Colgrove

    Here in Massachusetts, our votes are rarely pivotal, but in 2008 I took Sam’s advice and contributed to Al Franken. This year, though, I am out canvassing Needham for Elizabeth Warren. Nice to have our votes matter, though this one looks like another nail biter, so contributions _very_ welcome. Needham has been a politically split town at least since Reb and Tory factions in the war for independence!

  • Ottovbvs

    wheelers cat

    Yes I know turnout in off years is much lower which is why my comparator was the previous presidential where turnout was just over 132 million. If you look at the Republican turnout over the last three presidentials it suggests to me their ceiling is around 60 million (the largest ever Republican vote was 62 million in 2004) and I don’t really see them besting that this time around given the relative lack of enthusiasm for Romney. So the question remains if the turnout is the circa 132 million (which produced excellent house/senate results for Democrats in 08) doesn’t this suggest retention of the senate and numerous house pick ups.

  • wheelers cat

    Turnout in off-year elections is much lower.
    19 points between 2008 and 2010.
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

    2012 is likely the last year that lathering up the base has a chance of staving off the demographic timer.
    By 2020 the kids from the 2008 event will aging into the electorate.

  • Ottovbvs

    It will be close but isn’t Obama’s re-election going to hinge on a large turnout to neutralise the max Republican vote of around 60 million. Thus if turnout is around the same figure as 2008 (ie. 132 million + change) doesn’t it imply retention of the senate albeit with a narrower majority and probably picking up a lot of house seats although probably not enough to win control.

  • Matt McIrvin

    I wonder if so many political donors *really* want to maximize their campaign leverage, or if they would just prefer to be associated with a winning candidate (either as an implicit way of buying favors, or just for the psychological benefit). The two motivations would suggest opposite strategies.