Bloomberg News

Obama Crushes Romney in Ivy League Campaign Donations

May 17, 2012

President Barack Obama has received $17,869 in donations for his re-election efforts from 18 members of Brown University’s faculty, including Ruth Simmons, who is stepping down as president of the Ivy League school in Providence, Rhode Island.

Mitt Romney has just James Fingleton to thank for his $500 donation.

“I am a microscopic minority,” said Fingleton, an assistant professor of surgery at Brown’s medical school. “The vast majority of people who work in medicine at Brown, and at Brown University as a whole, they tend to be pretty liberal.”

Obama’s 35:1 fundraising edge at Brown illustrates his lead over Romney in collecting donations for the 2012 campaign from the faculty and staff at America’s most prestigious colleges. Professors, administrators and others employed at the eight universities of the Ivy League have given $375,932 to Obama and $60,465 to Romney, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington watchdog group that tracks campaign finance issues.

“I don’t feel like a pariah,” Fingleton said. “I kind of carry the banner pretty proudly.” He said he would describe himself as “a fiscal conservative and a social moderate, and I can’t agree with the direction that Obama is taking the country.”

Harvard’s Preference

As Wall Street money shifts from Democrats to Republicans in this presidential campaign, Obama appears to have tenure with the professors and administrators who are educating America’s elite. At Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where both Obama and Romney received law degrees and Romney also got a master’s degree in business, faculty members have given $131,654 to the president and $31,600 to Romney.

The one branch of Ivy academia where Romney has a slight advantage: Harvard Business School, whose employees have donated $14,000 to Romney and $11,400 to Obama.

Four years ago, Obama’s Harvard boosters were even more enthusiastic, with professors at the university donating $573,168 to Obama and $17,046 to his Republican challenger, Arizona Senator John McCain.

Obama has made light of his Harvard pedigree and needled Romney for his two degrees. “What a snob,” Obama joked at the White House Correspondents Dinner on April 28 about Romney’s degrees from Harvard Law and Harvard Business.

Columbia, Dartmouth

At Columbia University in New York City, where Obama earned his undergraduate degree, faculty members have given $74,017 to the president. Romney has received $17,500, about one-quarter as much.

At Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, the site of last October’s Bloomberg-Washington Post Republican debate, the former Massachusetts governor’s fundraising performance --$1,000 -- doubles his contributions from Brown. Obama, by contrast, has collected $17,075 from school employees.

Romney’s highest dollar yield is at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. Still, his $6,000 in contributions is only about one-quarter of Obama’s $22,869 haul.

At 41:1, Obama’s best donation ratio comes from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Obama has collected $45,851 from Yale faculty, while Romney has raised $1,115.

The president’s academic advantage extends behind the Northeast’s ivied walls and into the Midwest.

At Ohio State University in Columbus, for example, Obama has raised $18,230 from faculty and staff, compared with Romney’s $3,500.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net


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