A lot of people are talking about how Barack Obama has outraised John McCain in donations from US troops deployed overseas. Enough talk, indeed, to get me to actually look at the numbers from Open Secrets.
Here’s a screen shot of their chart:
(Click to embiggen)
(I tried to cut and paste their code for the chart, but couldn’t get it to look halfway decent. I am So utterly hopeless when it comes to software.)
Let’s take those numbers and play with them a little.
Minimum donation to be counted by Open Secrets: $200
Average donation to Obama: $455 and change.
Average donation to McCain: $410 and change
Total donations to Democrats: $63,882
Total donations to Republicans: $76,027
Average donation to Democrats: $456 and change
Average donation to Republicans: $500 and change
Total donations: 292
Total donations to Democrats: 140
Total donations to Republicans: 152
Total number of deployed troops donating to Obama and McCain: 160
Total number of Americn troops deployed abroad: about 370,000
Total number of deployed troops in Iraq: about 170,000
Total number of troops deployed in Afghanistan: about 20,000
Percentage of US troops deployed overseas donating at least $200 to presidential campaigns this year: 0.079%. Or, in simpler terms, less than one in ten thousand. Or, roughly, one in 12,500.
So yeah, Obama has outraised McCain from US troops stationed overseas, by overwhelming ratios in both number and amount. But the actual numbers are so damned small as to be statistically irrelevant.
And I think I kinda like that 99.9% of our troops aren’t spending at least $200 on presidential campaigns.