On Monday night, glowing in the revelation of a virtual tie between Democratic candidates for president in the Iowa caucuses, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders reminded an elated audience of one of the proudest points of his campaign.
“We have received in this campaign three and a half million individual contributions … And you know what the average contribution was?”
Sanders answered his own question in unison with a cheering crowd.
“Twenty! Seven! Dollars!”
Sanders's point: His campaign may have raised less cash than Clinton’s, but its funds have come from more donors—proof that America is indeed “feeling the Bern.”
And with the New Hampshire primary days away, a close look by WGBH News at campaign finance data provided by the Federal Election Commission suggests that if donations are any measure of popular support, Sanders has got a lot of it across New England.
Clinton, to be sure, has raised more than Sanders in individual contributions—just under $109 million between April 2015 and the end of the year, compared to just over $73 million for Sanders (Data for 2016 is not yet available).
Knowing exactly how many donors these figures represent is a little tricky. The FEC collects detailed contribution data only for “itemized” contributions—those totaling $200 or more per individual. But while smaller, “un-itemized” donations make up about $19 million, or 18 percent of Clinton’s individual donations, they represent $54 million, or about 75 percent of Sanders’ war chest—meaning when it comes to the bulk of Sanders donors, it’s hard to know who they are, where they live, and how many of them there are.
But even among “itemized” donations, the data reviewed by WGBH News shows that that Sanders has raised about half as much as Clinton from twice as many donors.
And if the number, never mind the amount, of donations is an indicator of support, Sanders is looking strong across the six states of New England.
As of January 1 of this year, Clinton had raised substantially more than Sanders in the six states of New England in so-called “itemized” donations—$6.2 million compared to $2.4 million raised by the Sanders campaign. But the number of itemized donations to Sanders was more than double that of Clinton. Where Clinton averaged $514 per itemized donation, Sanders averaged $86.
The maps below show the number (not amount) of donations to Sanders and Clinton, respectively, by zip code in the six states of New England.
Not surprisingly, Sanders’s strongest showing, in amount and number of donations, was in zip codes in Vermont—05401 (Burlington): 692 donations—though Massachusetts zip codes make up eight of the top 20 (and New Hampshire one) zip codes with the most donations.
Of Clinton’s top 20 zip codes (in amount and number), by contrast, 15 were in Massachusetts, four in Connecticut, and one in Rhode Island.
Biggest difference in donations in Clinton’s favor? Back Bay, Boston.
Use the tools below to zoom in or out, search for specific locations, and see for yourself where in the region voters are putting their money where their mouth is—and, presumably, many of their votes.
Number of Itemized Donations In New England To Bernie Sanders By Zip Code
Number of Itemized Donations In New England To Hillary Clinton By Zip Code