The United States of Campaign Contributions
By Christopher Cannon Christopher Cannon | February 29, 2016

You hear a lot about presidential candidates flying to New York or California to shake down millionaires at exclusive dinners. That makes sense, since citizens of larger, more affluent states tend to make larger campaign contributions than those in smaller, less affluent ones. But that’s not always true. The chart below shows per-capita campaign contributions to candidates of both parties from Jan. 2015–Jan. 2016.* People in small, not-so-wealthy Vermont gave more money per resident than almost anywhere else, which helps explain Bernie Sanders’s early momentum. The state that looks most like America contributions-wise is Tennessee, which matches the national per-capita median of 56 cents. But no one opens their wallets like the good people of Washington, D.C.—population 659,000—who give 17 times more than that to support their local industry.

State population:
Under 1 million
1–5 million
5–10 million
Over 10 million