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The Walker Effect? Wisconsin Ranks Dead Last in Donations to 2012 GOP Field

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Utah, Connecticut, and Texas lead the way in large donor per capita contributions to Republican presidential candidates with Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Indiana at the bottom

wisconsinseal10.pngDespite nine of the state's last 11 presidential elections being decided by single digits - with Republicans winning four of them - Republican presidential candidates are not having any luck getting residents in the perennial battleground state of Wisconsin to open up their pocketbooks to help fund their campaigns.

In the 2008 cycle, Wisconsin ranked #44 in per capita giving to the Republican presidential field, ahead of only Iowa, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Dakota, Indiana, and West Virginia.

And now the Badger State has fallen to the bottom of the pack.

A Smart Politics analysis of FEC data finds that Wisconsin is the lowest ranking state in per capita large donor campaign contributions to 2012 Republican candidates.

At just $529,280 through the end of December 2011, Wisconsinites have contributed only $93.07 per 1,000 residents to the GOP field - just below Arkansas at $93.10.

Wisconsin's rate of large donor giving to Republicans is more than three times below the national average of $339.59 per 1,000 residents.

Other low-ranking states are North Carolina at $121.27 (#46), Delaware at $119.58 (#47), and Indiana at $114.71 (#48).

Wisconsin's battleground state neighbors in the Midwest have given significantly more money to the various Republican candidates thus far:

· Minnesota - buoyed in part by two homegrown (ex-) candidates - comes in at #16 at $335.66 per 1,000 residents, or a 261 percent higher amount of giving.

· Michigan ranks #26 at $231.86 per 1,000 residents, or a 149 percent higher rate than Wisconsin.

· Iowa - home to the party's most famous straw poll and the first caucus of the season - ranks at #34 with $180.00 per 1,000 residents, or 93 percent higher than Wisconsin.

Overall, Midwesterners are not the most generous lot in giving to Republican candidates.

No Midwestern state ranks even in the Top 15 in per capita large donor contributions to the GOP field this cycle (with Minnesota the highest at #16).

And what states lead the nation in giving to the GOP?

Utah is at the top of the pack, giving at a rate of $1,042 per 1,000 residents, with the field's two Mormon candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman receiving 93.3 percent of these funds.

Utah ranked #2 in large donor contributions to Republican presidential candidates for the 2008 cycle behind only Virginia.

Coming in at #2 in 2012 is the deep blue state of Connecticut at $759.93 per 1,000 residents. Connecticut ranked third for the 2008 cycle in large donor money to GOPers.

Texas jumped up seven slots from #10 in 2008 to #3 in 2012 due in significant part to Governor Rick Perry running for the White House this year.

A total of 60.6 percent of large donor contributions to the GOP field from Texans went to Perry ($10.8 million out of $17.9 million) with another 8.4 percent directed to local Congressman Ron Paul ($1.5 million).

Rounding out the Top 10 are Wyoming at #4, Massachusetts at #5, Nevada at #6, New Hampshire at #7, New York at #8, Florida at #9, and Virginia at #10.

Wisconsin's bottom of the barrel ranking in contributions to Republican candidates belies its battleground state status mentioned above as well as its middle-of-the-road ranking in median household income (at #21, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is not a poor state).

And it's not as if Wisconsinites aren't giving - in some measure - to political candidates.

In the 2008 cycle, Wisconsin ranked #32 in large donor contributions to the Democratic presidential candidates.

This cycle, the Badger State ranks #33 in such campaign donations to President Obama (and at a 10 percent higher clip than contributions to the Republican field).

Wisconsin, like many states in 2010, took a decided turn to the right with Republicans taking control of the governor's mansion, State Senate, and State Assembly, and picking off one U.S. Senate and two U.S. House seats.

Since then, Governor Scott Walker has become a lightning rod public figure and is in real danger of being recalled in a few months.

While Wisconsin's recent track record suggests it has not been generous in funding GOP candidates generally, one wonders if the Republican brand may have been damaged at the margin's by the state's firebrand governor with a carry-over effect on the 2012 presidential race.

Large Donor Per Capita Contributions to 2012 Republican Candidates by State

2012
2008
State
Amount*
Population
Per 1,000
1
2
Utah
$2,882,693
2,763,885
$1,042.99
2
3
Connecticut
$2,716,053
3,574,097
$759.93
3
10
Texas
$17,914,332
25,145,561
$712.43
4
6
Wyoming
$350,844
563,626
$622.48
5
9
Massachusetts
$3,966,464
6,547,629
$605.79
6
5
Nevada
$1,322,205
2,700,551
$489.61
7
11
New Hampshire
$640,812
1,316,470
$486.77
8
8
New York
$9,065,482
19,378,102
$467.82
9
7
Florida
$8,406,637
18,801,310
$447.13
10
1
Virginia
$3,458,274
8,001,024
$432.23
11
16
Idaho
$583,577
1,567,582
$372.28
12
15
New Jersey
$3,186,061
8,791,894
$362.39
13
20
Georgia
$3,408,363
9,687,653
$351.83
14
13
California
$12,633,574
37,253,956
$339.12
15
24
Louisiana
$1,531,825
4,533,372
$337.90
16
32
Minnesota
$1,780,301
5,303,925
$335.66
17
14
Colorado
$1,659,139
5,029,196
$329.90
18
4
Arizona
$2,031,413
6,392,017
$317.80
19
12
Tennessee
$1,945,725
6,346,105
$306.60
20
31
South Dakota
$236,841
814,180
$290.90
21
21
Oklahoma
$1,081,800
3,751,351
$288.38
22
17
Maryland
$1,584,142
5,773,552
$274.38
23
19
Illinois
$3,469,266
12,830,632
$270.39
24
22
Missouri
$1,595,035
5,988,927
$266.33
25
28
Alaska
$185,132
710,231
$260.66
26
26
Michigan
$2,291,656
9,883,640
$231.86
27
37
Montana
$210,036
989,415
$212.28
28
29
Washington
$1,388,128
6,724,540
$206.43
29
35
Pennsylvania
$2,562,876
12,702,379
$201.76
30
39
Rhode Island
$205,405
1,052,567
$195.15
31
30
New Mexico
$386,918
2,059,179
$187.90
32
40
Nebraska
$333,478
1,826,341
$182.59
33
38
Oregon
$695,225
3,831,074
$181.47
34
45
Iowa
$548,349
3,046,355
$180.00
35
50
West Virginia
$333,409
1,852,994
$179.93
36
23
Kansas
$479,634
2,853,118
$168.11
37
41
Vermont
$103,279
625,741
$165.05
38
18
South Carolina
$743,252
4,625,364
$160.69
39
33
Mississippi
$464,889
2,967,297
$156.67
40
48
North Dakota
$99,573
672,591
$148.04
41
47
Kentucky
$638,718
4,339,367
$147.19
42
27
Ohio
$1,686,608
11,536,504
$146.20
43
46
Hawaii
$198,059
1,360,301
$145.60
44
36
Alabama
$648,759
4,779,736
$135.73
45
42
Maine
$178,677
1,328,361
$134.51
46
43
North Carolina
$1,156,377
9,535,483
$121.27
47
34
Delaware
$107,375
897,934
$119.58
48
49
Indiana
$743,755
6,483,802
$114.71
49
25
Arkansas
$271,473
2,915,918
$93.10
50
44
Wisconsin
$529,280
5,686,986
$93.07
 
 
Total
$104,641,178
308,143,815
$339.59
*Through Q4 2011. Table compiled by Smart Politics with FEC and U.S. Census Bureau data.

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