Authors: R. Michael Alvarez, Daniel Ebanks, Claudia Kann, Jonathan N. Katz
Who are the individuals who contributed billions of dollars to political campaigns in 2018 and 2020 election cycles? Why did they decide to donate to particular candidates? Are individual donors strategic in their contribution approaches (targeting candidates in competitive races where their dollars might be more influential on the election outcome) or are they more partisan or ideological (targeting like-minded candidates)? Who donates to U.S. federal election candidates? How do donors compare to the electorate, and how do donors differ demographically from the electorate? Do donors give mainly to to federal election candidates who represent them, or do donors contribute to federal candidates in other parts of the country? How many contribute the federally-mandated maximum donation to an individual candidate? Who makes smaller size donations (the so-called small donors), and who do they contribute money to? How do individual donors contribute during an election cycle — how may contribute during the primaries or during the general election? How do individual donors contribute across election cycles, do we see that they are more likely to continue to donate to the same candidates across cycles?
These are among the questions that we seek to answer in this book.