This Labor Day weekend, U.S President Barack Obama is going to work for the Democrats, raising money for the party and its congressional candidates at two events in New York state and another in Rhode Island, the Associated Press reported. While Democratic candidates are still shying away from appearing with the president on the campaign trail amid Obama’s slump in opinion polls, the committee that raises money for Democrats in the House of Representatives has actually improved its standing in the money race for the 2014 midterm elections.
During the 2010 midterms, two years into Obama’s presidency, Republicans recaptured the House and gained six seats in the Senate as discontent over the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, resonated with voters.
However, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tasked with raising money for House Democrats, has done its job better this year than it did four years ago.
The DCCC raised $44.3 million from all sources during the first seven months of 2010, and had $35.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the period, Federal Election Commission records indicate. In contrast, the DCCC raised $60.4 million from all sources during the first seven months of 2014, and had $35.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the period, FEC records suggest.
As a result, the committee’s all-source fundraising and its cash on hand at comparable points were higher this year than four years ago by 36.2 percent and 58.3 percent, respectively.
However, the Democratic National Committee, the main party organization, has seen a decline in funds raised from all sources between the 2010 and 2014 midterms. They are down by 7 percent, according to FEC data.
In the first seven months of 2010, the DNC raised $65.4 million from all sources and had $10.8 million in cash on hand at the end of the period. In the first seven months of 2010, the DNC raised only $60.9 million, although its cash on hand is at $56.5 million, indicating the Democrats have yet to spend heavily on the 2014 midterms.
The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the crisis in Ukraine and domestic issues such as Obamacare have hurt Obama’s approval rating: Gallup’s most recent daily tracking poll results show 53 percent of Americans disapprove and 41 percent of them approve of the job he is doing as president. The poll was based on telephone interviews of about 1,500 adults nationwide conducted Aug. 7-10, with the margin of error plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Nonetheless, Democrats still think highly of Obama, with 78 percent approving and only 20 percent disapproving of the way he is handling his job as president, according to Gallup poll results released Thursday. The poll was based on telephone interviews of 1,032 adults nationwide conducted Aug. 26-28, with the margin of error plus or minus 4 percentage points.
These last figures may explain why DCCC fundraising hasn’t been hit by the president’s overall unpopularity. Still, Democratic House candidates need more than just the Democratic base to vote for them, and appearing with Obama on the campaign trail could be a detriment.
Meanwhile, Jesse M. Unruh, the Democratic speaker of the California Assembly from 1961 to 1968, frequently has been credited with coining the expression, “Money is the mother’s milk of politics.” If the expression reflects reality, then the House Dems are entering the peak period of the midterm elections more well-nourished this year than they were four years ago.