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Three-Quarters of Republican Contributors Gave Money to Religious Orgs. in the Past Year

Scarborough Study Illustrates Demographic Insights for Republican and Democratic Contributors
Aug 23, 2012
New York, NY
Market Highlights

The 2012 presidential race is in full swing with both parties’ candidates touring the country, preparing for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions and perpetually fundraising. As campaigns increase their appeals for contributions, consumer market research firm, Scarborough, reveals insights into Democratic and Republican Contributors – who they are, where they live and the types of organizations competing for their financial support.

Scarborough defines Republican Contributors as American adults who say they are registered to vote in their district of residence and self-identify as either Republican or “Independent but feel closer to Republican” and live in a household that has contributed to a political organization in the past year. Democratic Contributors are similarly defined with the only difference being the self-identification as either Democrat or “Independent but feel closer to Democrat.” Republican and Democratic Contributors each make up four percent of the registered voter population.

One-quarter (25%) of Republican and Democratic Contributors live in a household that gave money to organizations that, while not political, are related to causes or issues important to them. By understanding where else these political donors choose to spend their money, candidates can better evaluate the issues that matter most to their base. The organizations outside of political that Republican and Democratic Contributors gave to in the past year are:

Organization Types Contributed Money to Past 12 Months % of Republican Contributors % of Democratic Contributors
Arts/Cultural 18% 43%
Environmental 8% 41%
Healthcare/Medical 25% 29%
Religious 71% 46%
Social Care/Welfare 29% 46%
Other Organization 36% 37%

“Political Contributors are the cornerstone constituents of any political party,” says Brian Condon, EVP of Commercial Development for Scarborough. “When candidates understand the issues important to their base, as well as how and where to reach them, they can run a more specialized and targeted campaign.”

Where can campaigns reach these political contributors? Both Republican and Democratic Contributors spend a great deal of time online per week (25% of internet-enabled Democratic Contributors spend 20 hours or more online per week; 19% of internet-enabled Republican Contributors do the same). These constituents, however, are not particularly active on social media. More than 80 percent of Republican and Democratic Contributors spend none or less than one hour on social networking sites in the average day.

Candidates can reach these Contributors online in other areas. Internet-enabled Republican Contributors are 64 percent more likely than all registered voters to have visited an auction site in the past 30 days, 55 percent more likely to have visited a financial services site and 51 percent more likely to have visited a real estate listings site in the past 30 days. Democratic Contributors are more than twice as likely to watch, listen to or download a podcast in the past 30 days, 86 percent more likely to read or contribute to a blog and 66 percent more likely than all registered voters to have visited a cable TV network site in the past 30 days.

Political campaigns seeking to reach Democratic and Republican Contributors via newspaper, television and radio will also be successful as these Contributors are users of all of these media forms. Republicans and Democrats are 15 percent and 16 percent (respectively) more likely than all registered voters to read the main news/front page section of the newspaper. Ninety percent of Republican Contributors and 85 percent of Democratic Contributors say they have watched any cable television in the past seven days. Finally, Democratic Contributors are 70 percent more likely and Republican Contributors are 17 percent more likely than all registered voters to listen to the All News radio format.

Geography is another critical element to consider when crafting an outreach campaign. In what part of the country are Republican and Democratic Contributors found? The top ten local markets for these political Contributors are:

Republican Contributor DMAs % of Registered Voter Residents Who are Republican Contributors Democratic Contributor DMAs % of Registered Voter Residents Who are Democratic Contributors
Fort Myers, FL 8% San Francisco, CA 9%
Milwaukee, WI 7% Hartford, CT 8%
Dallas, TX 7% Seattle, WA 7%
Austin, TX 6% Washington, DC 7%
Mobile, AL 6% Portland, OR 7%
Colorado Springs, CO 6% Raleigh, NC 7%
Atlanta, GA 6% Tuscon, AZ 7%
Indianapolis, IN 5% Austin, TX 6%
Las Vegas, NV 5% San Diego, CA 6%
Louisville, KY 5% Denver, CO 6%

Both Republican and Democratic Contributors primarily belong to the Baby Boomer* and Silent Generations. Sixty-nine percent of Democratic Contributors are age 45 and older; seventy-three percent of Republican Contributors are the same. Democratic Contributors are 11 percent more likely than all registered voters to be men. Republican Contributors are 24 percent more likely to be men. Both parties’ Contributors are more likely than all registered voters to be married with no children under the age of 17 living in the household.

In terms of education, more than half (54%) of Democratic Contributors have a college degree or more while 40 percent of Republican Contributors have the same. For employment – a hot button issue this election year – 12 percent of Democratic Contributors are self-employed or own a small business; 15 percent of Republican Contributors are also self-employed or small business owners.

*Scarborough defines the different American generations as Generation Y (age 18-29), Generation X (30-44), Baby Boomers (45-64) and the Silent Generation (65+).

Continue the conversation or share your opinions with Scarborough over Twitter by reaching out to @ScarboroughInfo.

This data is from Scarborough USA+, Release 1 2012. Scarborough measures 210,000 adults aged 18+ annually across a wide variety of media, lifestyle, shopping and demographic categories.

About Scarborough: 

Scarborough (, brings the local market to life like no other company. Our consumer insights reflect the shopping patterns, media usage behaviors across multiple platforms, and the lifestyle trends of American adults. Media professionals, marketers and agencies use Scarborough insights to: create a smarter, more informed marketing mix; conduct market-competitive analyses; plan event sponsorships and partnerships; geo-target prospective consumers; increase product sales, grow customer loyalty and for overall marketing strategy. Scarborough’s core offering of individual local-market studies spanning 120+ markets (including Puerto Rico). 77 local markets are MRC accredited. Other products and services include Analytics (customized research and express analysis) Sports and Hispanic insights and attitudinal data to help our clients address the why behind consumer behavior.  Scarborough surveys more than 210,000 adults annually, and studies more than 2,000 consumer categories. Scarborough has been in business for 40 years and is a joint venture between Arbitron Inc. ( and The Nielsen Company (

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