- Existing data sources used for studies of campaign finance have a variety of serious flaws.
- As a result, the degree to which major parties’ presidential candidates depend on very large donors has been underestimated and the role small donors play exaggerated.
- The relation between the money split between the parties and the proportion of votes received by their candidates in House and Senate races appears to be quite straightforward.
- Firms and executives in industries strongly affected by proposed regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions heavily backed Mitt Romney. So did much, but not all, of finance.
- President Obama’s support within big business was broader than hitherto recognized. His level of support from firms in telecommunications and software was very strong indeed, sometimes equaling or exceeding Romney’s. Many firms and sectors most involved in the recent controversies over surveillance were among the President’s strongest supporters.
- Republican candidates showed sharply different levels of contributions from small donors; President Obama’s campaign, while heavily dependent on large donors, attracted more support from small donors than did his Republican opponent.
- Big business support for Tea Party candidates for Congress was substantial, but well below levels for more mainstream Republicans. Many of the same sectors that strongly supported Romney also backed Tea Party candidates. Backing for Tea Party candidates by Too Big To Fail banks ran above the average of business as a whole by every measure.