Barack Obama's strategy of abandoning public funds in favor of unlimited contributions from private donors might be a good financial decision for the presumptive Democratic nominee, but it also could be a good strategy for appealing to voters. Obama, who says his campaign is funded 90 percent by small donors, could be turning skeptical voters into supporters with his dependence on small-time contributors.
A new BYU/Harris Poll shows that Americans are more likely to respond positively to a candidate who raises funds from small donors (contributions of $200 or less) rather than large donors (contributions of $2,000 or more). According to the poll, relying on small donors gives the impression that the "corrupting influence" of corporations, lobbyists, and PACs is lessened, making voters view the candidate more positively.
Thirty-nine percent of adults said they would have a more positive view of a candidate who raised money from small donors, and 58 percent said their feelings about a candidate would not change. Of those who donated to a political campaign, the influence is even stronger, with 68 percent viewing candidates who rely on small donors more positively.