Crunching the Campaign Numbers - Rolling Stone
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Crunching the Campaign Numbers

By now you’ve probably seen the top-line data on the solvency of the 2008 campaigns: McCain is broke, Obama and Hillary are rolling in it, yadda yadda.

But let’s take a look at primary cash-on-hand minus debt. (And I throw Ron Paul in here only to appease the members of the Paul Patrol I upset by besmirching his good name in my post RuPaul McRompson). This seems like the fairest snapshot of financial health:

(in $millions)

Obama 34.5

Clinton 29.7

Giuliani 14.7

Edwards 12.1

Richardson 6.9

Romney 3.2

Paul 2.3

McCain 0.1

Interesting that John Edwards is only a couple mil shy of Giuliani right now. It suggests that he’s still got enough cash to mount a credible campaign, but that the Democratic frontrunners are now a financial orbit all their own.

The Richardson/Romney disparity is also eye-brow raising. But Romney’s ability to self finance (he’s already lent his campaign more than six million) makes this kind of disparity more or less moot. John McCain’s money troubles are just sad. Little wonder his campaign has hit the reboot button.

Here’s another little metric I devised to offer a gauge of sustainability for the candidates. It’s the cash measure above divided by amount of money the campaign has already spent. Think of it as a burn rate.

Outlier Ron Paul does great, with only $700K spent but more than $2.3 million at hand. You gotta like that ratio. He can afford to build out his campaign and start making more noise.

This measure shows that Hillary, despite trailing slightly in the money chase, has better burn rate than Obama. But it also reveals that Richardson and Edwards have lived within their means. They’re still saving for that rainy day when either Obama or Clinton slip.

Again bad news for the GOP. A figure of 1 would be sustainable. Cash out the door=cash in hand for the next quarter. But it looks like the top Republicans are depleting their war chests faster than they can fill them. Again, put a fork in McCain.

Paul 3.28

Clinton 1.66

Obama 1.52

Edwards 1.24

Richardson 1.11

Giuliani 0.84

Romney 0.09

McCain 0.004


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