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    The Two Americas Financing the Trump and Biden Campaigns



    Estimated donors by ZIP code since April

    Biden

    4.9 millionestimated donors

    Trump

    2.7 millionestimated donors

    Biden

    4.9 millionestimated donors

    MORE BIDEN DONORS MORE TRUMP DONORS

    Trump

    2.7 millionestimated donors

    Source: Federal Election Commission | Notes: The map shows which candidate had more donors in each ZIP code from April 1, 2020, to Oct. 14, 2020. It shows only ZIP codes with at least 10 donors. The estimates were based on the name and ZIP code of each donor. About 1 percent of donors had ZIP codes that do not map to physical areas and are not shown on the maps.

    Joe Biden has outraised President Trump on the strength of some of the wealthiest and most educated ZIP codes in the United States, running up the fund-raising score in cities and suburbs so resoundingly that he collected more money than Mr. Trump on all but two days in the last two months, according to a New York Times analysis of $1.8 billion donated by 7.6 million people since April.

    The data reveals, for the first time, not only when Mr. Biden decisively overtook Mr. Trump in the money race — it happened the day Senator Kamala Harris joined the ticket — but also what corners of the country, geographically and demographically, powered his remarkable surge.

    The findings paint a portrait of two candidates who are, in many ways, financing their campaigns from two different Americas.

    It is not just that much of Mr. Biden’s strongest support comes overwhelmingly from the two coasts, which it does. Or that Mr. Trump’s financial base is in Texas, which it is. It is that across the country, down to the ZIP code level, some of the same cleavages that are driving the 2020 election — along class and education lines — are also fundamentally reshaping how the two parties pay for their campaigns.

    For years, affluent and college-educated voters, mostly white, had been the base of the Republican Party. Exit polls showed Republicans winning college graduates nationally from 1988 to 2004, and again in 2012. Voters who earned at least $100,000 have historically sided with most Republican presidential candidates by comfortable margins, too.

    But under Mr. Trump, Republicans have hemorrhaged support from white voters with college degrees, who polls show have been repelled by his embrace of a politics of cultural division and racial grievance.

    The fund-raising data suggests that erosion is not only harming the party’s electoral prospects but also its economic bottom line.

    Mr. Trump lost the money race in 2016, too, but he mobilized a base of white working-class voters then that offset his losses among college-educated voters. Now he is trying to leverage the powers of incumbency to do that to an even greater degree. But win or lose, Mr. Trump has accelerated a political realignment.

    In ZIP codes with a median household income of at least $100,000, Mr. Biden smashed Mr. Trump in fund-raising, $486 million to only $167 million — accounting for almost his entire financial edge. In the rest of the country, the two were knotted closely together.

    Amount raised (in millions), by median household income of ZIP codes

    Sources: Federal Election Commission; socialexplorer.com | Notes: All ZIP codes with a median household income above $250,000 or higher are grouped into the highest category. Data is from April 1, 2020 to Oct. 14, 2020.

    It was a similar story in the most educated pockets of the country, only even more pronounced.

    Of the ZIP codes where at least 65 percent of people had graduated from college — just over 1,000 out of nearly 32,000 populated ZIP codes that reported donations — Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump $478 million to $104 million. Below that education level, Mr. Trump was ahead by nearly $40 million.

    Amount raised (in millions), by education level of ZIP codes

    Sources: Federal Election Commission; socialexplorer.com | Note: Total donation amounts are grouped based on the share of adults 25 or over with a bachelor’s degree or higher in the ZIP code where the donation was made. Data is from April 1, 2020 to Oct. 14, 2020.

    “Alienating white college-educated voters means more than just losing their votes; it’s also literally costing them money,” said Amy Walter, the national editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “These are the kinds of places that, not that long ago, hosted high-dollar fund-raisers exclusively for G.O.P. candidates. Now, those donors are sitting in their living rooms, tapping out donations to Democrats around the country via their smartphones.”

    The analysis looked at more than 25 million donations from April 1 to Oct. 14, merging Federal Election Commission filings from the campaigns of Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden, their joint operations with the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee, and data from the donation-processing sites WinRed and ActBlue.

    The analysis does not include direct donations to the parties themselves, but it covers more than 90 percent of contributions to Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden and the committees directly linked to them, from $1 gifts to checks of more than $700,000. The average donation to those committees was $71 for Mr. Trump and $76 for Mr. Biden.

    Over all, Mr. Biden raised $1.07 billion and Mr. Trump $734 million over the last six months in the 32,000 populated ZIP codes, the analysis shows.

    The period analyzed is not a perfect snapshot. Mr. Trump was seeking money from donors, including in wealthy enclaves, in the months before Mr. Biden first emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee. But during the six months in which the choice was between these two men, the disparity was yawning.

    ‘Disposable income and deep antipathy’

    Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster who studies demographic trends, said “the donations mirror voting patterns,” as white voters with college degrees have swung sharply toward the Democrats in the last decade, with the trend expected to accelerate further in 2020 with Mr. Trump on the ticket.

    “It makes perfect sense,” Mr. Ayres said of the donation data. “Basically, Republicans have traded larger, more upscale, fast-growing suburban counties for smaller, down-scale, slower-growing rural counties. That’s not a promising trend for future victories.”

    In Georgia, the data shows that many of the suburban ZIP codes surrounding Atlanta, which are helping turn the state into a true presidential battleground for the first time in decades, are solidly Democratic when it comes to the number of donors, all the way deep into Gwinnett County, a swing county trending Democratic.

    In Pennsylvania, the vote-rich suburbs outside Philadelphia are overwhelmingly blue, with virtually every ZIP code counting more Biden donors than Trump ones, including in Bucks County, where Mr. Biden campaigned on Saturday and where Mrs. Clinton won by less than one percentage point four years ago.

    And in Virginia, the demographic march of the suburbs and exurbs outside Washington, D.C., that have turned the state reliably Democratic is apparent in the Biden-leaning ZIP codes for donors that stretch nearly to the West Virginia border.


    April

    Dallas

    Miami

    May

    Boston

    New York

    D.C.

    San Francisco

    Los Angeles

    Seattle

    Chicago

    Dallas

    Atlanta

    Denver

    June

    Boston

    New York

    D.C.

    San Francisco

    Los Angeles

    Santa Fe

    Seattle

    Chicago

    Dallas

    Houston

    Midland

    Atlanta

    Miami

    Tampa

    Jackson Hole

    July

    Boston

    New York

    D.C.

    San Francisco

    Los Angeles

    Chicago

    Dallas

    Austin

    Midland

    Atlanta

    Miami

    Bentonville

    Wichita

    Lincoln

    August

    Boston

    New York

    D.C.

    San Francisco

    Los Angeles

    Seattle

    Chicago

    Minneapolis

    Dallas

    Houston

    Austin

    Atlanta

    Miami

    September

    Boston

    New York

    D.C.

    San Francisco

    Los Angeles

    Las Vegas

    Phoenix

    Seattle

    Portland

    Chicago

    Minneapolis

    Dallas

    Houston

    Austin

    Midland

    Atlanta

    Nashville

    Denver

    Miami

    Source: Federal Election Commission | Data is from April 1, 2020 to Oct. 14, 2020.

    These political and fund-raising trends underscore the jeopardy that Mr. Trump has created for himself and his party: Rather than enjoying the usual advantages of incumbency, the president is struggling to stanch the bleeding for the G.O.P. in the suburbs. His conduct, rhetoric and record are imperiling some traditionally red Senate and House seats because of the realignment of college-educated voters toward moderate Democrats emphasizing issues like health care and economic growth.

    “These voters with lots of disposable income and deep antipathy to Trump can channel their frustration into Biden’s campaign coffers,” said Ms. Walter of the Cook Political Report.

    The median household in the United States was $68,703 in 2019. In ZIP codes above that level, Mr. Biden outraised Mr. Trump by $389.1 million. Below that level, Mr. Trump was actually ahead by $53.4 million.

    Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster, said the shift of more educated voters toward her party was a boost “in the short term,” especially financially.

    “To have people with more resources to be able to give — and not just once, but over and over again in lots of different places — it creates an advantage for Democrats,” Ms. Greenberg said, citing the online culture of donating to multiple candidates that has lifted once-obscure Senate Democratic candidates.

    Of course, neither party wants to be seen chiefly as the champion of the well-to-do. Mr. Biden has emphasized his blue-collar roots and upbringing in Scranton, Pa. Mr. Trump, after falling behind in the money chase, has attacked Mr. Biden as beholden to the donor class. “Joe, you have raised a lot of money, tremendous amounts of money,” Mr. Trump said in last week’s debate. “And every time you raise money, deals are made, Joe.”

    Ms. Greenberg said there were risks if her party fell out of touch with the values of the working class, both white and nonwhite. “About 60 percent of this country is still without a college degree,” she noted.

    A pivotal turning point

    For months, after Mr. Biden had emerged as the presumptive Democratic nominee, he and Mr. Trump competed closely for donations, despite the president’s three-year head start. But that all changed on Aug. 11, when Mr. Biden named Ms. Harris as his running mate.

    That day, Mr. Biden raised five times as much as Mr. Trump and nearly repeated that margin the day after. In the 65 days from the formation of the Biden-Harris team until Oct. 14, that Democratic team outraised Mr. Trump on 63 of them, according to the data.

    The only two exceptions were the night of Mr. Trump’s convention speech, when Republican giving surged, and the day after his hospitalization with the coronavirus, when Democratic giving waned.

    In those 65 days, Mr. Biden built a financial advantage of more than $300 million.

    All told, the 2020 donation data shows that 28 states donated more to Mr. Trump, compared to 22 supporting Mr. Biden in the last six months. But the national map of donation data still appears red because Democratic dollars — like Democratic votes — are far more concentrated in denser and wealthier parts of the country.


    Estimated amount raised by ZIP code since April, in thousands

    MORE RAISED BY BIDEN MORE RAISED BY TRUMP

    in thousands

    Notes: The map shows which candidate raised more money in each ZIP code from April 1, 2020, to Oct. 14, 2020. It shows only ZIP codes with at least 10 donors.

    The most lopsided state in Mr. Biden’s favor is Massachusetts, with more than five times as much money, $55.7 million, going to the Democrats than the Republicans. The most Republican-leaning state for donations was Mississippi, with nearly four times as much money, $4.9 million, going to Mr. Trump.

    In terms of dollars, Mr. Trump’s greatest edge came from Texas (he netted $48.3 million more there than Mr. Biden), while Mr. Biden’s came from California ($167.3 million more than Mr. Trump).

    In fact, Mr. Biden’s entire financial edge can be accounted for through just four states: California, New York, Massachusetts and Washington.

    And within those and other blue states, Mr. Biden’s hauls are particularly concentrated in big cities and suburbs. One Upper West Side ZIP code — 10024 — accounted for more than $8 million for Mr. Biden, and New York City in total delivered $85.6 million for him — more than he raised in every state other than California.

    One of the most closely divided states in terms of cash given also happens to be one of the most heavily contested battlegrounds, North Carolina, that could determine both the presidency and control of the Senate. There, Mr. Biden’s $18.9 million narrowly edged out Mr. Trump’s $17.9 million.

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