Sunday, July 6, 2008

Campaign Contributions: Biased or Balanced?

Individuals are permitted to give a presidential candidate a maximum of $2,300 for the primary elections and another $2,300 for the national election. Campaign treasurers are required to report monthly totals and list every donor that contributes $200 or more per donation. Multiple contributions in lesser amounts that aggregate in excess of $200 need not be itemized.

94305 is the zip code for Stanford University. Some 860 faculty and staff families live in campus residences along with about 10,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Many of the latter are foreign or out-of-state students and hence don’t vote in California. U.S. citizens can contribute regardless of their home address.

As of June 30, 2008, John McCain had received $6,900 from two Stanford residents, both fellows at the Hoover Institution. Barack Obama had received $107,991 from dozens of Stanford residents; of these, Hoover fellows contributed $5,850. If spouses of Hoover fellows are included, Obama received $9,100. On these numbers, Hoover is well balanced.

Thus far, Obama has received 94 percent of all contributions received from campus residents. Apart from two Hoover fellows, McCain has not received a dime from any Stanford resident. Is the rest of the campus biased?

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