Pass The Hat: Minorities Donated Less To Election Campaigns Than Whites

November 6, 2012  |  

It’s not really that much of a surprise: wealthier Americans, mostly whites, donated much more to the presidential campaigns than minorities. According to a new study by AP, Americans living in predominantly wealthy, white neighborhoods account for nearly all the sizable campaign contributions in this year’s presidential election, as reported by the Huffington Post.

Latinos donated the least. The study found that while 16 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic, “not even 4 percent of the more than $1.3 billion in 3 million-plus itemized contributions came from mostly Hispanic neighborhoods this year… More than 90 percent came from majority white neighborhoods,” writes HuffPo.

Large donations come into play because there is actually more of them. About 65 percent of donors supporting Obama gave more than $200, compared with 85 percent for Romney. “These donors, including ‘bundlers’ who raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, are most likely to receive invitations to lavish donor parties, state dinners at the White House or policy briefings with senior advisers,” says the article.

For sure income disparity played some part in these findings. According to the 2010 Census, the median household income for Hispanics was $37,759; for non-Hispanic whites it was $54,620. Add to this the high unemployment rate for minorities, about 8 percent.

While it makes sense that minorities, who on a whole have lower incomes than their white counterparts, would donate less because they basically have less money, it’s not so, found the AP report.  “Even among the poorest neighborhoods, non-Hispanics contributed far more regularly to the campaigns and the political groups that supported them. The trend similarly holds true for campaign contributions from mostly black, Asian or Native American neighborhoods,” states the article.

Still, the AP is talking about big-dollar donations. The news organization did not take into account the sources of contributions of $200 or less per person because, under federal law, political groups are not required to disclose any identifying information about such donors.

Perhaps more jarring is the amount of money spent, on a whole, on this election — $6 billion — and the amount that came from outside groups like super PACs — $526 million. Mother Jones has some of these money stats.

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