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Wisconsinites (Financially) Disengaged from 2012 Presidential Race

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Wisconsin is the only battleground state to populate the Bottom 10 for per capita large donor contributions to presidential candidates this cycle

wisconsinseal10.pngWhile the swing state of Wisconsin may be prime territory for political ads and a key state for the Obama and Romney campaigns - with native son Paul Ryan now on the latter's ticket - residents of the Badger State may not be quite as enthused with the campaign so far.

At least as measured by one variable.

For although Wisconsin ranks in the top half of the nation in per capita income, the state ranks 46th in per capita large donor giving to presidential candidates this cycle.

A Smart Politics review of FEC data through August 2012 finds that Wisconsin is the only 'battleground' that ranks in the Bottom 10 states for itemized contributions to 2012 presidential candidates.

Wisconsin residents have contributed $853 per 1,000 residents so far this cycle to Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and the other ex- and current GOP and third party candidates who launched presidential campaigns.

That comes in at just above half the national statewide average of $1,659 per 1,000 residents and bests only Mississippi at #47 ($809), Indiana at #48 ($804), West Virginia at #49 ($759), and Arkansas at #50 ($696).

In fact, Wisconsin is the only swing state that populates the bottom of the list with North Dakota at #45 ($865), Kentucky at #44 ($886), Alabama at #43 ($917), South Carolina at #42 ($937), South Dakota at #41 ($1,010), and Kansas at #40 ($1,086).

One unusual facet of Wisconsin's placement on this list of campaign donations is its relative wealth vis-à-vis most of the other bottom dwellers.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis' March 2012 report, Wisconsin ranks #25 in the nation in per capita personal income in 2011 with Indiana (#41), Alabama (#42), Arkansas (#44), South Carolina (#46), West Virginia (#48), and Mississippi (#50) coming in much lower.

Only North Dakota (#9), South Dakota (#21), and Kansas (#23) rank ahead of Wisconsin on the per capita income list among the stingiest large donor states in the 2012 presidential election cycle.

All this is not to suggest that the other battleground states in the 2012 election are at the very top of fundraising states in the nation.

In fact, only two battleground states crack the Top 10 for per capita large donor funds donated to presidential candidates this cycle: Virginia at #8 ($2,450 per 1,000 residents) and Colorado at #9 ($2,412).

The remaining eight states in the Top 10 are all Democratic and Republican strongholds.

Mitt Romney's home state of Massachusetts leads the way at a rate of $3,573 per 1,000 residents in large donor giving, followed by Connecticut at #2 ($3,551), Vermont at #3 ($2,929), Wyoming at #4 ($2,897), Utah at #5 ($2,742), Maryland at #6 ($2,676), New York at #7 ($2,659), and California at #10 ($2,305).

As for the other swing states, New Hampshire comes in at #11 ($2,208), with Florida at #15 ($2,011), Nevada at #16 ($1,784), Pennsylvania at #27 ($1,460), Michigan at #32 ($1,259), North Carolina at #36 ($1,191), Ohio at #38 ($1,091), and Iowa at #39 ($1,090).

Wisconsin's shallow pockets in the 2012 fundraising game is curious to be sure.

Some might suggest the state was bled dry by the two sets of recall elections that took place in 2011 and 2012.

Or perhaps that the high profile recall process itself - and the untold number of negative campaign ads that flooded the airwaves - have turned voters off to political campaigns.

These are plausible explanations, but not persuasive in a state that consistently ranks among the top in the nation in voter turnout.

So perhaps Wisconsinites are simply savvy political observers and are simply not impressed with the choices on the ballot this time around and are saving their money for another day...

Itemized Contributions to 2012 Presidential Candidates by State

Rank
State
Contributions
Per 1,000
1
Massachusetts
$23,401,154
$3,573.99
2
Connecticut
$12,693,773
$3,551.60
3
Vermont
$1,832,984
$2,929.30
4
Wyoming
$1,633,132
$2,897.55
5
Utah
$7,579,783
$2,742.44
6
Maryland
$15,454,381
$2,676.75
7
New York
$51,538,013
$2,659.60
8
Virginia
$19,606,980
$2,450.56
9
Colorado
$12,132,987
$2,412.51
10
California
$85,882,222
$2,305.32
11
New Hampshire
$2,907,191
$2,208.32
12
Washington
$14,469,371
$2,151.73
13
Texas
$52,091,722
$2,071.61
14
Illinois
$25,865,823
$2,015.94
15
Florida
$37,811,211
$2,011.09
16
Nevada
$4,818,565
$1,784.29
17
New Jersey
$15,509,423
$1,764.06
18
Alaska
$1,241,329
$1,747.78
19
Maine
$2,290,305
$1,724.16
20
New Mexico
$3,484,098
$1,691.98
21
Oregon
$6,316,967
$1,648.88
22
Montana
$1,619,811
$1,637.14
23
Idaho
$2,466,565
$1,573.48
24
Georgia
$15,112,071
$1,559.93
25
Delaware
$1,393,992
$1,552.44
26
Hawaii
$2,012,353
$1,479.34
27
Pennsylvania
$18,549,551
$1,460.32
28
Arizona
$9,300,299
$1,454.99
29
Minnesota
$7,634,263
$1,439.36
30
Oklahoma
$5,197,600
$1,385.53
31
Rhode Island
$1,382,766
$1,313.71
32
Michigan
$12,445,690
$1,259.22
33
Louisiana
$5,639,102
$1,243.91
34
Tennessee
$7,830,379
$1,233.89
35
Missouri
$7,370,065
$1,230.62
36
North Carolina
$11,357,456
$1,191.07
37
Nebraska
$2,071,725
$1,134.36
38
Ohio
$12,588,640
$1,091.20
39
Iowa
$3,323,147
$1,090.86
40
Kansas
$3,098,627
$1,086.05
41
South Dakota
$822,505
$1,010.23
42
South Carolina
$4,335,068
$937.24
43
Alabama
$4,383,002
$917.00
44
Kentucky
$3,848,698
$886.93
45
North Dakota
$581,978
$865.28
46
Wisconsin
$4,855,783
$853.84
47
Mississippi
$2,402,565
$809.68
48
Indiana
$5,214,766
$804.28
49
West Virginia
$1,407,881
$759.79
50
Arkansas
$2,031,864
$696.82
Table compiled by Smart Politics with data culled from the FEC and U.S. Census Bureau. Contributions through August 2012.

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