Special Report

Neighborhoods Donating the Most to the Democratic Candidates

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Elections are costly. Candidates, especially those running for president, have to consider how to pay for staff salaries, speaking venues, travel, food, and state election fees, among other things. Fundraising, then, becomes an integral part of political campaigns, and some areas of the country are better equipped to contribute than others.

Campaign donations are broken into two categories: itemized and unitemized contributions. All contributions between $200 and $2,700 — the contribution limit to a single candidate — must be itemized, which entails disclosing to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) the amount, donor’s name, zip code, occupation, and donor’s employer. Donations below $200 are not required to be itemized — although some are. Based on FEC campaign finance data from the beginning of each candidate’s campaign through February, these are the zip codes contributing the most to Democratic presidential candidates.

While an unitemized donation is necessarily smaller than an itemized donation, unitemized donations still represent a significant share of a candidate’s fundraising efforts. Unitemized contributions to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign, for example, account for 19.7% of the $145.4 million raised from private individuals through February. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, on the other hand, who boasts more than 3 million individual contributions, relies on smaller contributions to fund his campaign. As much as 68% of the $138 million raised by the Sanders campaign was through unitemized contributions.

Click here to see the 8 neighborhoods contributing more than $800,000 to Democratic candidates.

Areas in a candidate’s home state are often among the largest donors. Of the eight zip codes in the country donating more than $800,000 to Democratic candidates for president, five are located in New York, where Clinton was elected twice to the U.S. Senate. Those zip codes have contributed at least $4.3 million to Clinton’s campaign. In fact, Clinton raised far more money than her opponents in all of the top zip codes contributing to Democrats.

Many of the zip codes donating the most money did so early in a candidate’s campaign, a sign of a well established financial apparatus as well as a signal of strong initial support. Indeed, Clinton raised nearly half of the money contributed in the 10023 zip code of New York City in the three months after she announced her bid for the Democratic nomination.

Unsurprisingly, individuals donating the most to presidential candidates live in affluent areas. In all of the zip codes contributing more than $800,000 to Democratic candidates, the median annual household income is greater than $100,000, nearly double the U.S. figure. The median household income in Chevy Chase, MD — zip code 20815 — is $136,098. Democrats have raised more than $877,000 so far from that zip code.

Successful fundraising does not necessarily translate to popular support, however. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, for example, raised more than $33.5 million through private contributions, yet suspended his campaign after disappointing finishes in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, on the other hand, has raised just $9.5 million through February.

To determine the zip codes donating more than $800,000 to Democratic presidential hopefuls, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed itemized contributions reported to the FEC by each candidate’s campaign as of the March 2016 filing period. Additionally, we considered median household income and educational attainment rates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 American Community Survey (ACS).

These are the eight zip codes donating more than $800,000 to Democratic candidates.

8. Zip code: 10128
Area: Upper East Side
City: New York, NY
Contributions to Democrats: $814,466

The 10128 zip code is part of Manhattan’s historically affluent Upper East Side. The area’s nearly 1,500 itemized contributions to Democratic presidential candidates totalled $814,466 as of February 2016, the eighth highest total of any zip code in the country. At least $760,000 of the donations have gone to Clinton, the majority of which was donated in the second and third quarters of 2015, just after she announced her candidacy. Not all contributions from this area go to Democrats, however. Republicans have raised nearly $460,000 in this zip code, the majority of which went to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, two of three candidates still vying for the Republican presidential nomination, raised just $20,000 in itemized donations from this area.

7. Zip code: 10021
Area: Upper East Side
City: New York, NY
Contributions to Democrats: $844,474

Located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan between 70th street and 76th street, residents of the 10021 zip code have donated nearly $850,000 to Democratic candidates for president. As in other areas of Manhattan with collective contributions more than $800,000, the vast majority of money from this area went to Clinton, with more than half of contributions coming in the first months after she announced her candidacy in April 2015. Republican candidates raised nearly $500,000 in this area, more than half of which went to Bush. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Kasich also received sizable donations from this zip code.

6. Zip code: 20008
Area: Woodley Park, Forest Hills, and Van Ness
City: Washington, D.C.
Contributions to Democrats: $865,183

Located in Northwest D.C., the 20008 zip code contributed $865,183 to Democratic candidates for president through the end of February. Clinton received by far the most donations from this area, with more than 1,100 individual contributions totalling $813,266. Sanders appears to garner more support from area residents as time goes on. While Sanders received $17,000 from area residents in the last 10 months of 2015, he received more than $24,000 in the first two months of 2016.

5. Zip code: 20815
Area: Chevy Chase, MD
City: Washington, D.C.
Contributions to Democrats: $877,148

Located just north of Washington D.C., the 20815 zip code comprises part of Chevy Chase, Maryland. Of the more than 1,200 contributions coming from residents of this zip code, more than 850 individual contributions totalling $800,000 went to Clinton’s campaign. The majority of the remaining contributions went to the former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who suspended his presidential bid in February 2016 after a poor finish in the Iowa caucuses. Nearly 84% of adults in this area have at least a bachelor’s degree, which likely has a positive impact of residents’ earnings. A typical area household earns $136,098 a year, far higher than the median household income of $74,149 statewide.

4. Zip code: 20016
Area: Palisades, Spring Valley, American University Park, Tenleytown, Cathedral Heights
City: Washington, D.C.
Contributions to Democrats: $926,901

High incomes may be one reason that so many of an area’s residents are able to contribute to political campaigns. This is true of the 20016 zip code, which is near American University in Washington D.C., and has a median household income of roughly $122,000 annually. Through February, area residents have contributed nearly $927,000 to Democratic presidential campaigns. The vast majority of funds raised went to Clinton’s campaign, with Sanders receiving just $35,000.

3. Zip code: 10024
Area: Upper West Side
City: New York, NY
Contributions to Democrats: $968,001

Covering the northern half of Manhattan’s Upper West Side from 80th street to 92nd street, the 10024 zip code has so far contributed $968,000 to Democratic candidates for president in 2016, the third most of any zip code in the country. As in other areas of New York City contributing significant amounts of money to presidential campaigns, the vast majority of itemized donations from this area went to the Clinton campaign. The average of the nearly 1,500 contributions to Clinton from this zip code was roughly $630. By contrast, Bernie Sanders received an average contribution of $97 from just 900 donations.

2. Zip code: 10011
Area: Chelsea
City: New York, NY
Contributions to Democrats: $1,003,628

With an average donation of more than $425, Manhattan’s Chelsea area has contributed just over $1 million to Democratic presidential candidates this cycle. Nearly all the money raised from Chelsea households has gone to Clinton’s campaign, with just $90,000 going to Sanders. Not all area households donate to Democrats, however. Rubio and Bush — both of whom have suspended their campaigns — each received nearly $50,000 in contributions from this zip code.

1. Zip code: 10023
Area: Upper West Side
City: New York, NY
Contributions to Democrats: $1,020,980

The 10023 zip code of New York City’s Upper West Side runs from 60th street to 76th street. Roughly 2,700 donations from this zip code to Democratic candidates for president totalled more than $1 million. Nearly 90% of itemized contributions went to Clinton’s campaign. The large contributions are likely the result of the area’s high median household income. A typical area household earns $111,265 a year, nearly double the statewide median household income.

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