Political Giving in Recession


Contributions to General Assembly candidates are down 17 percent from the same period four years ago, the last time all 140 legislative seats were on the ballot.

Several factors could contribute to the decline. The economy has yet to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. There are far fewer contested House seats this year. Also, redistricting delayed this year’s election calendar by several months.

Three occupations hit hard in the recession – real estate agents, auto dealers and real estate developers – show the biggest declines. Giving by real estate agents is down 55 percent from 2007; while campaign donations from real estate developers and auto dealers are down more than 43 percent.

See below how the top occupations from 2007 have fared so far this year.

Top Industries from 2007

Industry Amount 2007 Amount 2011 Change
1. Attorneys/Law Firms $1,047,186 $932,675 -10.94%
2. Retired $729,544 $670,592 -8.08%
3. Real Estate Developers $564,183 $318,280 -43.59%
4. Realtors $539,978 $239,475 -55.65%
5. Trial Lawyers $539,205 $375,955 -30.28%
6. Auto Dealers $496,990 $282,110 -43.24%
7. Alcohol Distributors/Brokers $458,461 $425,234 -7.25%
8. Banks $448,335 $331,764 -26.00%
9. Information Technology $431,851 $272,727 -36.85%
10. Physicians $398,266 $308,236 -22.61%

Note: The list above excludes giving from political party committees and is compiled from donations reported by candidates from January 1 - August 31 of each year.

Sept. 19, 2011