President Obama’s re-election campaign is straining to raise the huge sums it is counting on to run against Mitt Romney, with sharp dropoffs in donations from nearly every major industry forcing it to rely more than ever on small contributions and a relative handful of major donors.
So now Obama is relying upon the small donors who allegedly weren't contributing to him. Okay. But what does Confessore mean by "sharp dropoffs in donations"? Well, it turns out that's compared to the same time period in 2008. Why might that be a bad comparison? Confessore provides an explanation further down in the article:
With no primary to excite his base, the economy struggling to rebound, and four years of political battles with Wall Street and other industries taking their toll, Mr. Obama’s campaign raised about $196 million through March, compared with $235 million at the same point in 2008 [emphasis added].The lack of a primary is really important! At this point in 2008, Obama was locked in a tight contest with Hillary Clinton that would go on until June. He really needed the funds. He might not need them as much today, as Confessore again points out:
And with no primary to fight, Mr. Obama is spending much less than he was at this stage in 2008: He had about twice as much money in the bank at the end of March than he did four years ago.So Obama is suffering compared to 2008 even though he has twice as much cash on hand?
It is, admittedly, hard to find a good point of comparison for Obama at this stage. Here's one, though: George W. Bush was an incumbent president facing no primary opponents in 2004. By the end of March 2004, his campaign had raised around $186 million, which is something like $225 million in 2012 dollars. So Obama's a bit shy of that, although the story notes that Obama has spent a lot of effort doing fundraising with the DNC, which might make for an important distinction. It is also possible that the fundraising environment today is so completely different from what it was eight years ago as to make comparisons meaningless. But the direct comparison to 2008 is highly misleading.