From the counter-intuitive file: Yesterday, the Democratic National Committee launched a new campaign called Exxon-McCain ’08, seeking to paint Sen. John McCain as the darling of the oil industry. The Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan organization that tracks money in politics and runs OpenSecrets.org, decided to take a look at how the two major-party candidates stack up in terms of campaign contributions from the employees of oil companies. What did it find? While McCain is the overall industry favorite — by a large margin — Exxon-Mobil employees actually prefer Sen. Barack Obama. From CRP:**
While McCain has raised considerably more money from this unpopular industry, CRP was surprised to notice that it’s actually Obama who has received more from the pockets of employees at several of Big Oil’s biggest and most recognizable companies. Tallying contributions by employees in the industry and their families, we found that Exxon, Chevron and BP have all contributed more money to Obama than to McCain.
Through June, Exxon employees have given Obama $42,100 to McCain’s $35,166. Chevron favors Obama $35,157 to $28,500, and Obama edges out McCain with BP $16,046 vs. $11,500. McCain leads the money race with nearly every other top giver in the oil and gas industry, though — Koch Industries, Valero, Marathon Oil, Occidental Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, the list goes on. (You can see detail on all these companies in the spreadsheet linked below.) McCain also has a big edge with Hess Corp. — $91,000 to Obama’s $8,000 — which has gotten some attention. And, overall, McCain’s campaign has gotten three times more money from the industry than Obama’s has — $1.3 million compared to about $394,000.
I can already see McCain’s people in Arlington mounting their counter-attack. The CRP analysis also includes this chart, which is very revealing:
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You can read the entire history of the McCain campaign in this diagram. Early last year, McCain was the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination — and the oil money flowed. Then, around July, word got out that the campaign had been spending money recklessly and was near bankruptcy. Sure enough, the petrodollars dried up, as the industry waited to see who would emerge as the front-runner. After McCain won the Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary, and continued winning thereafter, his stock shot way up, resulting in a spike of oil contributions. I can’t really explain the dip in March, though McCain did take a week off from fund-raising when he spent a week abroad, which included a visit to Iraq. But we can clearly see that the contributions reached a new peak in June, when McCain announced his support for lifting the federal moratorium on offshore oil drilling — popular within the oil industry, for obvious reasons.**