Money's Effect in Politics
This year in Virginia we have 2 neighboring congressional districts that seemingly have a serious difference. Tom Davis seems to be poised to win re-election overwhelmingly while Frank Wolf looks to be in a close race.
This is interesting b/c of several factors. First off, Wolf's district is more Republican than Davis' (Bush got 55% in the 10th vs. 49.9% in the 11th, Kilgore got 46.4% in the 10th vs. 42.4% in the 11th). Second, Wolf is a 26 year incumbent vs. Davis' 12 years of incumbency. The only thing that points to Wolf being in a tougher spot than Davis is fundraising.
Frank Wolf has raised $1.3 million vs. Judy Feder's $1.1 million. Sure he has an advantage, but not a commanding one.
Tom Davis has raised $2.4 million vs. Andy Hurst's $300k. That my friends is the reason Davis has nothing to worry about.
Some would argue these numbers aren't greatly useful due to the fact stronger candidates can usually raise more money, so money isn't necessarily the reason for victory. Even so, it is a very good predictor of who will win and who will have a tough election.
One of the biggest disadvantages the GOP faces this year is the belief that the dems can win, so the dems have been able to raise money. That money has then enabled them to compete.