Elephant Ears

This blog is dedicated to the political happenings in the Valley and Southwest Virginia. As the the name implies, this blog will have posts based on what is heard by this elephant's (GOPer's) ears. It is also a great treat to get while at the county fair or a carnival.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Money's Effect in Politics

In light of my last post, I would like to show you a concrete example where money seems to be a major determinent in congressional races.
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.


  • At 10/24/2006 1:36 PM, Anonymous brimur said…

    Sure, money matters a whole lot. But you've really exaggerated its effects. The Barrons study, for example, is ridiculous. It's so weird to say so formulaically that this year is going to be like every other year along some arbitrary distinction of fundraising.

    This despite the changes in campaign finance law which have changed the sources of spending which affect elections (out of the parties into the third-party harder to track groups, etc.)

    And more importantly, this claim comes in spite of the radical changes in the structure of the media which have, in turn, changed how campaigns gain exposure and how they are defined in the minds of voters. As a blogger - a part of this new media landscape - you should be more discerning than this.

  • At 10/24/2006 3:10 PM, Blogger GOPHokie said…

    brimur, I do not believe money is the only driver. I think anyone who thinks Conrad Burns or Rick Santorum will win has to be a total unbeliever in polls.
    That being said, money can have a huge effect on races that are going to be close.
    Also, the point I would argue is that the fact the GOP doesn't have a $100 million advantage is part of the reason they are vunerable this year.


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