Back in July, our sister site RealtyHop took a look at the presidential candidates’ filed fundraising numbers for the second quarter. We then stated, by looking at the numbers (and numbers don’t lie), that based on the fundraising numbers only five of the Democratic presidential candidates truly had a shot. As the fundraising numbers for the third quarter has now been released, we can take another close look to see if the trend has changed.
The previous study analyzed individual donations in the 30 most populous U.S. cities. This time around we took a deeper look at the individual donations on a city and zip code level, including New York City. We chose specifically to rank zip codes by donor counts instead of dollar amounts, as we feel this better represents how many people support each candidate.
Our key findings this quarter include:
- Bernie Sanders takes first place on the leaderboard, leading in 83 zip codes across New York City in terms of unique donations. Trump is closely behind, taking the lead in 82 zip codes in total. [Fundraising Map]
- The leaderboard, however, tells a different story when we follow the money instead of the number of unique donations. When looking at how much each candidate has raised by zip code, Donald Trump leads in 66 zip codes. Bernie Sanders ranks second, but he is only leading in 43 zip codes, which puts Donald Trump 23 zip codes ahead.
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg, meanwhile, has raised the most in New York City. As of Q3 2019, he has raised more than $2.5 million from New Yorkers.
- Donald Trump takes the lead in all 12 zip codes located in Staten Island in terms of unique donations. In terms of amount raised, Trump leads in 9 out of 12 Staten Island zip codes.
- Sanders and Warren both saw a surge in donations when compared to the average donations per day after the first democratic debate. Sanders saw an increase of 108% while Warren saw an increase of 161% when it comes to donations. While both candidates have been seeing an uptick in donations throughout the race, Sanders saw another 23% increase in donations after the third democratic debate (shortly after the impeachment inquiry). [Figure 1]
- Despite being the early front-runner in the polls, Joe Biden has consistently recorded below-average unique donations since April. [Figure 2]
- The three top presidential candidates with the highest number of unique donations so far in 2019 is Bernie Sanders (3,606 unique donors), Peter Buttigieg (3,434 unique donors), and Elizabeth Warren (2,981 unique donors).
Which Candidate Does Your Neighbor Support?
The interactive map below highlights New York City and its zip codes. More detailed, the map shows where each zip code stands, politically, and which presidential candidate is the frontrunner in each zip code. By clicking on the zip code or selecting from the drop-down menu, you will get more information on which candidate is the front runner and which candidate raised the most money in donations in that specific zip code. For a more detailed analysis of how each candidate is doing in the same zip code, view the corresponding interactive line graph above the map.
While Pete Buttigieg only took the lead in 35 zip codes in terms of unique donations and 32 zip codes in terms of the total dollar amount raised, we still see that he managed to become the front runner candidate in several Manhattan zip codes. In addition, as we can see from the interactive map above, the percentage donor share for Manhattan is completely democratic donations.
When taking a closer look at the corresponding interactive line graph above the map, we see that Bernie Sanders is in the lead in terms of the total number of donations. As of September 30th, Sanders had 3,606 unique donations, Buttigieg had 3,434 unique donations, and Warren had 2,981 unique donations.
It’s important to note that the colors approach the data from a different angle. Blue zip codes are zip codes where the aggregated number of unique donations of all 18 Democratic candidates is higher than the number of unique donations received by Donald Trump, and red zip codes are areas where Donald Trump alone attracted more unique donors than all 18 Democratic candidates combined. While we are still one year away from the general election, Donald Trump has started gaining momentum in certain zip codes, particularly in Staten Island and Queens.
Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren Saw Big Surge in Donations
Following the fundraising data is a good way to get insight into where each candidate stands with the public as donations equal support. Looking at the unique donor counts instead of the dollar amount raised also better represents how many people support each candidate. We’ve therefore put together a line graph that shows each candidate’s donation progress.
Above we see the timeline for each candidate and their donation progress from April to the end of September. Mayor Buttigieg gained momentum early on in New York City, bringing in on average 13 unique donations each day. The first surge in donations happened after the first democratic debate, where candidate Sanders and Warren both saw a surge in donations by 108% and 161% respectively between the first and second debate. Trump also saw an increase in donations after the first democratic debate, but nowhere near the same percentage as Sanders and Warren, but this might change as we get closer to the 2020 election. While both candidates have been seeing an uptick in donations throughout the race, Sanders saw another 23% increase in donations after the third democratic debate (shortly after the impeachment inquiry). Meanwhile, Donald Trump saw another wave around the time when the news about the whistleblower complaint surfaced. The number of unique donations continued to grow after the impeachment inquiry was announced.
The Top Five – Who Outperformed and Who Faltered?
As one can see, Bernie Sanders has recorded an incredible shift in momentum. In April, Sanders trailed the pack by -37% in terms of unique donations compared to the average, by July he jumped to a respectable +37% above average, and in September he surged to the lead with a whopping +84% above average. Despite being the early front-runner in the polls, Joe Biden has consistently recorded below-average unique donations since April, dropping to his lowest point of -78% below average after the first debate in late-June. Interestingly, the de facto favorite according to the betting markets, Elizabeth Warren, has seen unique donations plummet from +79% above average in July to -17% below average in September. Pete Buttigieg has remained the most consistent among the top 5 candidates, recording above-average unique donations for 5 out of the last 6 months.
Unique Donations Leaderboard – By Borough
Since New York consists of five large boroughs, we thought we’d break down the donations by borough in addition to zip codes to better understand New Yorker’s diverging views. You can also select the boroughs from the drop-down menu on the map to learn more.
- Bronx: Donald Trump, 123 unique donations – Highest number of donations from zip code 10465 (28 donations, $7,085 raised)
- Brooklyn: Bernie Sanders, 1,348 unique donations – Highest number of donations from zip code 11211 (81 donations, $21,644 raised)
- Manhattan: Pete Buttigieg, 2,732 unique donations – Highest number of donations from zip code 10011 (287 unique donations, $258,906 raised)
- Queens: Donald Trump, 648 unique donations – Highest number of donations from zip code 11375 (45 donations, $14,270 raised)
- Staten Island: Donald Trump, 267 unique donations – Highest number of donations were from zip code 10314 (53 donations, $10,776 raised)
The campaign donations data was retrieved from the FEC, and the city shapefiles were retrieved from the Census website. In terms of unique donors, we deduped by names, zip codes, and candidate names. We adopted 5-digit zip codes for this report as not all candidates collect 9-digit zip codes. We then grouped the zip codes by their respective cities and further analyzed the data by each candidate.