The Obama campaign raised $66 million in the past month. This sounds good, until you read this:
. . . While John McCain can only spend $84 million over the next two months after accepting that much from the public-financing system, it doesn’t cost him a dime to get it. The Obama campaign’s burn rate will be critical in determining whether he’s actually raising enough money to keep him ahead of McCain. If it costs him more than $20 million to raise that money, it’s essentially a wash — and the burn rate at Team O has been much higher than 30%. Their cash-on-hand numbers will probably tell a different story, as Obama would have to almost double McCain’s $84 million over the next two months just to stay even.
[. . .]
Byron York quotes the campaign as having $77 million cash on hand after August. That sounds impressive, but they had almost $66 million at the end of July. They had a burn rate of over 80%, which explains why the campaign may have seemed desperate to the New York Times. In order to make this decision work for Obama, they have to do better than $66 million a month if they want to cover the cost of fundraising as well as make up for the deficit between the DNC and the RNC.
So Obama’s net is only $11 million. Not good, especially when you consider this:
DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney says the party raised more than $17 million and has $17.5 million on hand, having spent more than $28 million last month, largely on the Democrats’ ground game.
That cash figure is a fraction of the $110 million a Republican official says it has, which includes transfers of money McCain is no longer allowed to spend and money from state fundraising vehicles.
The RNC’s cash advantage is important to note for another reason as well: It shows that the current political conditions notwithstanding, the RNC is still able to raise lots of money, perhaps undermining the claim that a lack of political enthusiasm will prevent Republicans from being able to compete with Democrats financially as Election Day rolls around.