Average Campaign Donation by Occupation

By: Jeff Clark    Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008

I have created another simple graph based on data from the Federal Election Commision about political donations to the Obama and McCain campaigns. This one shows the average contribution amount for the various occupations of the donors. I restricted the analysis to occupations having at least 1000 separate donations. There were 106 occupations that met this criteria and the top 50 are shown below.

A few observations from the graph:

  • The top 15 spots seem fairly obvious and are primarily high-level business executives or finance related
  • Position #16 is 'homemaker' which doesn't fit the pattern very well. Perhaps donors with this occupation have wealthy spouses.
  • I was also surprised that 'student' was #48 - relatively high on the overall list.

There is a related analysis about which occupations supported Obama or McCain the most.


Some notes on methodology:

The data available at the time of this analysis includes contributions up to July 31st, 2008. I have combined a few obvious occupation spelling variations together. For example, 'home maker' has been combined with 'homemaker', and 'cpa' and 'certified public accountant' combined with 'accountant'. Several high-level executive occupations have been combined into 'executive' - namely 'coo', 'chief operating officer', 'cio', 'cfo', 'exec', and 'cto'. There are many other variations that could plausibly be combined - 'doctor' with 'physician' or 'attorney' with 'lawyer' for example. If anyone wants to verify my analysis and is interested in the complete list of combinations I used just send me an email.


Obama McCain Donor Occupation Analysis
Word Clouds on Financial Crisis