How Did Obama Raise a Whopping $60 Million in May?
President Barack Obama’s coming out in support of same-sex marriage, a celebrity fundraiser raffle and millions of small donations helped contribute to the huge increase in fundraising to $60 million in May. Reuters

President Barack Obama's coming out in support of same-sex marriage and a celebrity fundraiser raffle helped contribute to the huge increase in fundraising to $60 million in May, but most of all it was millions of people contributing small donations.

Like the $43.6 million his re-election campaign raised in April, the majority of last month's donations raised by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee came in small amounts -- a source of pride among Democrats they say illustrates widespread support from the middle class.

As of May, more than 2.2 million people have stepped up to own a piece of this campaign, the president announced in a tweet.

The large increase, however, was not enough to surpass funds raised by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee last month -- $76.8 million, according to the RNC. The former Massachusetts governor, who relies more heavily on generous donations than many smaller donors, had nearly matched Obama in April with $40.1 million in donations in April.

According to the Obama campaign, 98 percent of donations were less than $250 and the average donation was about $55. More than 572,000 people donated to the campaign, with 147,000 of them first-time contributors.

May's numbers include the reported millions of dollars the Obama campaign raked in the hours after he announced same-sex marriage should be legalized, in early May. CNN reported $2 million was raised just within the first 24 hours of the announcement, while a source told the Washington Post the response was astounding.

President Obama also broke fundraising records after a joint event with George Clooney at the actor and activist's Los Angeles mansion, in which they raffled off two tickets to the high-dollar affair to supporters making $3-or-more donations. A little more than half of the $15 million raised came from raffle contributions, the rest from the $40,000-a-seat tickets.

The nearly $20 million fundraising spike from April is positive news for Democrats, who suffered a discouraging defeat when Republican Gov. Scott Walker was re-elected in Wisconsin on Tuesday.

June could also be a strong fundraising month for Obama. Reuters reported he raised over $3.5 million in three events with President Bill Clinton on Monday, before heading to Los Angeles for an LGBT-themed fundraiser and a private dinner with Glee creator Ryan Murphy. Obama and First Lady Michelle are raffling off tickets to a New York City fundraiser hosted by Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour at SJP's home on June 14 -- also a big attraction for small-dollar contributions.

At the same time, the Obama campaign has lost a substantial number of donors since 2008. Buzzfeed's Ben Smith and Rebecca Elliott reported last week that nearly 90 percent of Americans who gave $200 donations four years ago haven't been contributing this time around, attributing it to disillusionment with the campaign.

Interviews with dozens of those drop-off donors reveal the stories of Democrats who still plan to pull the lever for the president, but whose support has gone from fervent to lukewarm, or whose economic circumstances have left them without money to spare, Smith and Elliott wrote.