Nielsen: Dems Winning Money Race

NEW YORK Democratic candidates are edging ahead in the race for presidential campaign contributions, according to research conducted by the Nielsen Co.

Eight of the 10 segments most likely to contribute, including the most affluent, influential and well-educated voters, made the highest amount of contributions to Democratic candidates during the first half of 2007, according to Nielsen. This is double the amount contributed by the top 10 segments examined during the same period in 2003.

“Households in these top 10 donor segments are the financial engines for political campaigns, because they are over four times more likely to contribute than the average household,” said Mike Mancini, vp, data product management for Claritas, Nielsen’s marketing information provider that pioneered the segmentation system. “However, even the rest of the country’s more modest contributors with less disposable income (who represent 86 percent of potential voters but only 35 percent of total contributions) are also shifting their support from the Republicans to the Democrats.”

Nielsen used data from its lifestyle segmentation system and Federal Elections Commission reports. The segments analyzed are: Young Digerati, Upper crust, Money and Brains, Bohemian Mix, Movers and Shakers, Big Fish-Small Pond, Blue-Blood Estates, Country Squires, Urban Achievers and Second City Elite.

All shifted to Democratic contributions, with the exception of country squires and second city elite, though Nielsen found that these two segments are also trending towards the Democratic candidates.

The study demonstrated that 64 percent of the donors in the top 10 segments gave to Democratic candidates compared to 36 percent for Republicans. This resonated with dollar donations, seeing Democratic candidates receiving 62 percent and Republicans receiving 38 percent.

And nationally, Democrats are raising more than Republicans, seizing nearly 60 percent of all donated dollars. In most urban segments, that percentage figure is closer to 70 percent. The suburban landscape is more varied—from a high near 70 percent to a low of 38 percent. Still, Democrats outweigh Republicans, with an overall average capture rate of 55 percent.

Nielsen also found that the rural heartland and small town America, which tends to tilt toward Republican contributions, is now split 50/50 across the group segments. Not surprisingly, the upper and middle class of rural America still provide more support to the Republican candidates, while the lower income segments favor Democratic candidates.

In terms of front-runner candidates, the analysis revealed the following:

Rudy Giuliani is attracting more support from urban and metro areas and looks to do better with a mix of both liberal and conservative segments.

Mitt Romney has success in suburban areas with more traditional lifestyle segments.

Hillary Clinton draws contributors from family-life segments, low-rise and Beltway boomers, which are households with a high percentage of children.

Barak Obama does well with a number of blue-collar and mid-scale segments as well as the younger segments.

Data for this Nielsen analysis was obtained from the FEC.gov Web site and includes all individual donations to presidential primary candidates prior to June 2007. (Fred Thompson had not yet declared his candidacy and is therefore not included in the study.) The data was coded using Nielsen’s Prizm segmentation system at the ZIP code level. Prizm classifies 66 segments of the U.S. population based on various socio-economic data such as income, age, occupation, education and household composition, as well as lifestyle attributes.

Adweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.