Many Obama donors in ’08 race are absent so far

AP Photo
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of thousands of people who together gave millions of dollars to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign have gone missing this time around. Their failure to give so far may signal that some of the president’s earliest supporters have lost enthusiasm.

At the same time, Republican rivals like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney have been gaining financial strength in parts of the country that were instrumental in swinging the last election for Obama, according to an Associated Press analysis of new campaign finance data.

The president’s re-election effort is hardly hurting for cash: His campaign and the Democratic Party raised more than $70 million combined since July, outstripping all Republicans combined by millions. But some supporters who wrote Obama larger checks early in the 2008 campaign haven’t done so this time, representing more than $10 million in missing donations.

The AP’s analysis suggests that Obama, beleaguered by a struggling economy, will have to work harder to win back party stalwarts and swing voters alike. His approval ratings have slumped to 41 percent in a recent Gallup poll, as steadfast supporters have found themselves less able or less willing to open their wallets again.

“He was our state senator, and when I looked at the Republican side, I thought, `We need some fresh blood in the campaign,'” said Janet Tavakoli, 58, a financial analyst from Chicago who gave $1,000 to Obama in 2008. “But I was dead wrong about it,” she said, and isn’t supporting any candidate this time.