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The Most Politically Active States by Donations per Capita: 2020

The 2020 election is perhaps the most contentious in our nation’s history. It is for certain the most expensive. Both candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, have raised over a billion dollars. They aren’t the only big money races though. This year every house of representatives seat is up for grabs, as well as numerous tight senate seats. In total, over $5B dollars have been donated via individuals and Super PACs.

Some states are more engaged than others however. Some states punch above their weight and donate in far greater amounts per capita than some larger neighbors.

Most Politically Active States Based on Donations

When it comes to putting their money where their politics are, a handful of small states punch above their weight. While technically not a state, DC, with it’s high median income and small population ends (as well as being the capital) ends up donating over $400 per resident. Other small states in the top five include Wyoming, Delaware and Nevada.

The highest donations per capita perhaps unsurprisingly roughly follow states with higher median incomes. The northeast and west coast tend to have higher earning residents, which would allow them to donate more often to political candidates.

What About Individual Donors?

The map above takes into account all money raised, including Super Pacs, in that state. $200+ donations from normal individuals more or less follows the same pattern, though there are some variations. For example, the per capita spending in DC drops from ~$400 to $90 per capita.

List of States by Highest Donations per Capita

StatePopulationTotal to Candidates and PartiesDonations per Capita
District of Columbia973,764$248,703,059$404.93
Wyoming578,759$10,330,970$91.32
Delaware705,749$11,238,222$83.80
Nevada3,080,156$42,348,822$33.63
Massachusetts6,949,503$147,979,522$25.56
New York19,453,561$372,936,639$24.99
Virginia8,535,519$159,590,836$22.47
California39,512,223$666,430,882$21.18
Illinois12,671,821$146,856,662$19.76
Connecticut3,565,287$55,864,264$19.65
Washington7,614,893$119,066,438$17.71
Colorado5,758,736$87,066,586$16.95
Maryland6,045,680$93,416,463$16.21
Montana1,068,778$16,784,230$15.40
Vermont623,989$9,249,936$15.07
Alaska731,545$10,247,144$14.68
Maine1,344,212$17,780,802$14.55
Florida21,477,737$260,941,521$14.30
New Mexico2,096,829$27,694,031$14.20
New Hampshire1,359,711$18,846,085$13.96
Arkansas3,017,825$22,223,333$13.53
Texas28,995,881$320,994,218$12.76
Kansas2,913,314$27,528,213$12.52
Oregon4,217,737$51,387,578$12.49
Minnesota5,639,632$63,402,509$12.14
New Jersey8,882,190$88,255,041$10.73
Pennsylvania12,801,989$107,054,355$10.71
Arizona7,278,717$76,776,279$10.70
Rhode Island1,059,361$11,328,226$10.62
Georgia10,617,423$100,704,561$10.33
Michigan9,986,857$94,852,710$10.31
Tennessee6,833,174$59,874,082$9.62
North Dakota762,062$4,949,085$9.45
Indiana6,732,219$46,910,663$8.94
Nebraska1,934,408$14,766,862$8.90
Iowa3,155,070$27,544,702$8.69
South Dakota884,659$7,400,400$8.67
Oklahoma3,956,971$31,667,011$8.66
Missouri6,137,428$49,066,678$8.41
North Carolina10,488,084$82,673,017$8.26
Hawaii1,415,872$11,205,596$8.11
Wisconsin5,822,434$43,229,184$8.07
Ohio11,689,100$83,429,177$7.80
Alabama4,903,185$37,403,040$7.78
Louisiana4,648,794$34,857,146$7.70
Idaho1,787,065$13,229,090$7.50
South Carolina5,148,714$37,323,585$7.34
Kentucky4,467,673$27,177,204$6.46
Utah3,205,958$18,864,246$6.16
Mississippi2,976,149$11,974,613$4.12
West Virginia1,792,147$6,850,373$3.90

Donations per Capita by Political Party

Some states clearly donate more to one party over the other. In states like Massachusetts (one of the most liberal in the nation) donate 6x more per capita to Democrats as they do Republicans. There were a few surprises however. Deep blue Hawaii for example only donates to Democrats 2x more per capita than Republicans. In deep red Utah, which hasn’t had a statewide Democrat hold office in decades, donates roughly evenly per capita to Republicans and Democrats.

In some states, the donations to Democrats and Republicans are nearly even. There are eight states where the difference in donations per capita to both parties differs less than 10%.

States by Donations per Capita to Political Parties

StateTotal PopulationPer Cap DemocratPer Cap Republican% Difference Democrat vs Republican
Vermont623,989$12.75$1.67663%
Massachusetts6,949,503$17.74$2.98495%
Rhode Island1,059,361$8.31$1.98320%
Maryland6,045,680$11.77$3.28259%
Maine1,344,212$10.11$2.88252%
Washington7,614,893$11.61$3.60223%
New York19,453,561$13.79$4.57202%
Oregon4,217,737$8.90$2.97200%
Delaware705,749$11.77$3.99195%
New Hampshire1,359,711$10.16$3.50190%
Hawaii1,415,872$5.56$2.22151%
Connecticut3,565,287$10.71$4.61132%
California39,512,223$11.36$4.97129%
New Jersey8,882,190$6.57$3.21105%
Illinois12,671,821$7.45$3.9191%
Minnesota5,639,632$7.19$3.8786%
Colorado5,758,736$9.59$5.2682%
New Mexico2,096,829$8.35$4.6878%
District of Columbia973,764$160.60$90.7977%
Pennsylvania12,801,989$4.97$3.2155%
Virginia8,535,519$9.74$8.4216%
Iowa3,155,070$4.49$4.0710%
Michigan9,986,857$4.87$4.469%
Wisconsin5,822,434$3.70$3.593%
Utah3,205,958$2.89$2.832%
Arizona7,278,717$5.19$5.200%
North Carolina10,488,084$3.83$3.91-2%
Indiana6,732,219$3.10$3.41-9%
Montana1,068,778$7.11$7.92-10%
South Carolina5,148,714$3.32$3.85-14%
Kentucky4,467,673$2.76$3.20-14%
Idaho1,787,065$3.25$4.02-19%
Alaska731,545$4.77$6.22-23%
Ohio11,689,100$3.00$3.93-24%
Missouri6,137,428$3.32$4.53-27%
West Virginia1,792,147$1.56$2.19-29%
Kansas2,913,314$3.66$5.64-35%
Nebraska1,934,408$2.95$4.55-35%
Florida21,477,737$4.65$7.21-35%
Georgia10,617,423$3.61$5.60-36%
Wyoming578,759$6.43$10.72-40%
Texas28,995,881$3.94$6.91-43%
Tennessee6,833,174$3.00$5.62-47%
Nevada3,080,156$4.52$8.97-50%
Oklahoma3,956,971$2.55$5.08-50%
Arkansas3,017,825$2.27$4.94-54%
North Dakota762,062$1.81$4.54-60%
South Dakota884,659$2.31$5.91-61%
Alabama4,903,185$1.95$5.46-64%
Louisiana4,648,794$1.76$5.39-67%
Mississippi2,976,149$0.95$2.99-68%

Methodology

To get political donation data, we turned to opensecrets.org. We looked at donor data from every state page for the 2019-2020 election cycle (up till September 23rd 2020). We then merged that data with 2018 census data to get the population in each state.

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