Last October, we tried a little experiment, ranking the states by their per-capita donations to President Obama's reelection campaign and then grouping them on a map into five tiers of generosity. We found that the donor map corresponded pretty well with the electoral map, or at least what the electoral map is expected to look like. While we don't expect that the donor map can predict the outcomes in November, we do think it might serve as useful gauge of voter enthusiasm for the Obama candidacy.
That data was based on Obama's first one million donors, but this week the Obama campaign announced that it surpassed the 2-million-donor mark in May. So we decided that it's time for an update.
We did things a little differently this time, though. Instead of just calculating each state's new rank, we wanted to take it a step further and look at what had changed. That's what you see in the map above: The darker the shade of blue, the higher up the rankings a state moved between October and May; the darker the shade of red, the lower down it moved (if it's grey, it maintained the same rank).
For example, Arizona moved up five spots since October, from 27th to 22nd in terms of per-capita donors. What caused this movement isn't clear — maybe liberal Hispanics were motivated to donate after hearing the GOP candidates take hard-line positions on immigration during the primaries — but whatever it was, it's probably a good sign for the Obama campaign, which has hopes of competing in the traditionally Republican-friendly state in 2012. Same goes for the upward movement of Pennsylvania, and, to a lesser extent, Michigan.
According to math, if some states moved up, other states moved down. We don't think the Obama campaign will lose any sleep over North Dakota's five-spot plunge, but Virginia's three-slot drop could be a bad omen. Or, maybe it's nothing. You don't want to read too much into these things. It could just be that Virginia's many pro-Obama lobbyists and government officials maxed out on their contributions to the Obama campaign at the beginning of the race. Could be anything, really. Something to keep an eye on, though.