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Donald Trump: Making Millions as he Runs for President

Donald Trump: Making Millions as he Runs for President
March 02
09:56 2016

What’s the benefit of being a master showman in this year’s presidential race? Millions and millions of dollars.

Donald Trump is the clear leader in getting the “most bang for his buck,” as they say. In other words, he’s getting the best return on the money he invested into his presidential campaign, according to a Yahoo Finance analysis.

The campaign spending data revealed that Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul are on the other side of the fence – they have made the least amount of money during their campaigns. As the field narrows, the candidates who are able to run efficient, cost-effective campaigns will have a big advantage over their rivals.

To determine the ROI (return on investment) for each candidate, the analysis measured the total amount spent by each man (or woman) between October and December of 2015 against the results of the most recent GOP and Democratic polls.

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 5.44.41 PMIs essence, the analysis determined how much money each presidential candidate spent for each percentage point in national polls. The findings appear on the left.

Donald Trump spent $6.9 million during the last three months of 2015. He led the GOP field with 37% of the vote in a Washington Post/ABC news poll conducted January 26th-27th. This means that for each million he spent, he “received” 5.4% of the vote. Martin O’Malley came in second place with 1.9 points per million spent. Hillary Clinton came in third with 1.7%.

Although measuring anything based on polls leaves quite a bit of room for error, ROI will have a significant impact in the upcoming election – especially considering how many candidates are going after the same donors.

Donald Trump has a huge advantage not only due to his giant pocketbook, but his fame. The media reports almost everything he says, which boosts their ROI (in terms of rating).

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 5.52.23 PMWhen you compare the efficiency of a candidate’s campaign spendings with his or her monthly burn rate, it becomes clear which candidates have staying power and which do not. Take a look at the chart to the left (numbers do not include donations to super PACs).

Underfunded candidates who do not perform well in early primaries will have no choice but to drop out. Ben Carson looks particularly threatened. The former neurosurgeon spent just over $9 million each month during the last three months of 2015. He ended the year with about $6 and a half million in cash. Carson gets the second worst “bang for his buck” when you look at poll results.

Longevity is a result of a strong cash position and thrifty spending. On the left, Martin O’Malley scores low in regards to efficiency since he had little money to begin with, but he gets to share stage space with famous rivals Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – which helps him win name recognition. With very little cash, he will be forced to drop out soon. Mrs. Clinton and Bernie Sanders are seeing great returns on campaign spending and have enough money in the bank, which suggests the neck-in-neck race between the two of them will continue until the bitter end.

On the right, other than Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are relatively efficient spenders with a respectable amount of cash. Jeb Bush, however, is seeing poor returns and has a dwindling cash reserve. If he does not change his spending habits, he will soon run out of money.

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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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