After years of being outpaced among individual donors, WinRed, a donation platform, was created as an answer to ActBlue Democratic’s third-party processing site for donations . With the party completely on board, WinRed would process almost $2 billion for the 2020 cycle to federal races, on top of state and local candidates. With this analysis from Cygnal, we are happy to present an interactive look at where the money came from, when it was donated, and who it went to. We would like to give a huge thank you to the people at the FEC who processed it into a clean format so that it could be easily synthesized. You can access the raw data file here.
Our analysis looked at almost all giving to federal election entities. For the sake of collection, only donations that were over $1 were counted, excluding less than a million dollars total from all giving. Additionally, any PACs that were not affiliated with a single candidate or campaign were not counted.
Donors were divided as those who have given $100 or less, medium as $1,000 or less, and large donors as everything more. The totals are for the whole cycle: if somebody gave $25 eight times for a total of $200, they would be classified as a medium donor.
The next breakdown was by destination. In red denotes giving to the Trump campaign or the Republican National Committee, while blue is House giving and Green denotes any donation to the National Republican Senatorial Committee or any Senate campaign.
The first chart below shows all categorized giving on a daily basis. This entirely interactive chart allows you to change the timeline using the slider in the upper right-hand corner and check boxes to show as many of the recipients as you would like. Hover over any bar and a window will pop up with the name of the recipient and the amount.
The next chart looks at all of the totals given during 2019 and 2020 up until Election Day. Here you can see how much of WinRed giving was to the Trump campaign at every level, raising about $841 million from the platform. Candidates were also raising more from WinRed compared to party committees, though a lot of that was coming from medium and large donors.
Small donors were also more likely to direct their giving to Trump or the RNC. The charts below show that about 70% of small donors gave at the presidential level but only a little over half of large donors gave to Trump, choosing to spend elsewhere. Large donors also really began giving later in the cycle, especially in the last few months. Around half of all down-ballot donations through WinRed came from large donors, or people giving over $1,000. While this can help the totals and shows a diverse range, it may present a challenge going into a post-Trump 2022 to figure out what can direct small and medium donors to focus on races other than the presidential one.
At Cygnal, we know that voters react to big events. Last October, a new twist was added to the election with the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. By paring down the timeline on the interactive tool, we can zoom in on giving patterns during that time. The image below is annotated and you can see that the Trump campaign saw increased giving on big days but Senate races had a daily surge in giving from all levels of donors. This increase is most likely attributed to the Senate hearings and votes because there was no similar increase in giving to House campaigns.
In 2020, WinRed provided the crucial foundations for Republicans to begin to make inroads with individual donations and provided a roadmap to success. Looking forward to a midterm cycle without Donald Trump in the White House and efforts directed down the ballot, the Supreme Court trial shows that big media events and high impact priorities that can steer donors’ interest to candidates. Cygnal helps you identify what will fire up voters and move the party base to action, whether that’s donating, or tuning into your best tested messages and showing up to the ballot box.
Cygnal is an award-winning national public opinion and predictive analytics firm that pioneered multi-mode polling and peer-to-peer text collection. Cyngal was recently named the #1 private pollster and the #2 pollster overall by Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, as well as the #1 most accurate polling and research firm in the country for 2018 by The New York Times. Its team members have worked in 48 states on more than 1,100 corporate, public affairs, and political campaigns.