An analysis of the data in Pennsylvania and New Jersey (which rank eighth and ninth in small-dollar donations) shows that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders has the largest and most loyal donor base. He’s trailed widely by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In Pennsylvania, former Vice President Joe Biden is third. In New Jersey, that position is held by home-state Sen. Cory Booker.
All of the evidence suggests that if a voter donates as little as a dollar to a candidate it increases their likelihood of voting for that candidate,” said Brigid Harrison, a professor of political science at Montclair (N.J.) State University in New Jersey. “Now, with the debates, candidates have a double incentive to solicit small donations.”
Sanders has nearly 46,000 donors in Pennsylvania and 20,000 in New Jersey, about 78% more than Warren and 89% more than Biden. That tracks with his base nationwide. While Sanders’ support has stagnated somewhat — he’s dropped from second to third place in some national polls — he is also the only Democrat nationally with more donations coming in than President Donald Trump.
And his campaign touts donations in the Pennsylvania counties of Erie, Luzerne, and Northampton as an indication that Sanders would be competitive in the general election. In those counties, which pivoted from Barack Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, Sanders received more contributions than the next four Democrats combined.
Sanders’ donor base tends to be younger, less educated, and lower-earning compared with those who give to other Democrats, Neidhardt said: Nationally, 47% of Sanders’ donors are 18 to 39 and the average contribution is $15.