07/20/2007 09:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

FEC Reports: The Republican Pollsters

On Wednesday I posted numbers culled from the second quarter
Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings by the Democratic presidential
campaigns to see how much they spent on their pollsters. Today, let's take a
look at the Republicans.

All in all, the Republican candidates have spent less on polling
in recent months than the Democrats, though that is largely because they have
also been raising less money. The polling expenditures for candidates of both
parties were roughly proportional to the amounts raised and spent, although as
a percentage of all second quarter expenditures, Clinton, Obama and Romney devoted
more to polling than their rivals.

The table that follows shows disbursements or debt logged in
the second quarter (April through June) for the various campaign pollsters, as
well as amounts categorized as "polling" or "survey research" in their
financial reports. The table has no entries for Sam Brownback, John Cox, Jim
Gilmore, Mike Huckabee, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo or Tommy Thompson because
if these candidates had no polling expenditures that I could identify. And, of
course, Fred Thompson has not yet declared his candidacy and so has no
financial filings.


Obviously, the Romney campaign spent much more on polling in
the last quarter than any of the other Republicans, although Romney's
polling budget is roughly in line with what the Obama and Clinton campaigns spent last quarter.

Finally, an important caution about all of these numbers: The
line between payroll, travel reimbursement, "consulting" and polling services can be blurry, and the
variations in the way the campaigns account for such expenses makes apples-to-apples
comparisons by category very difficult. For example, pollster Lance Tarrance
served as senior strategist and research director for the McCain campaign, and
payments to him were listed under the "payroll" category. Does that expense
qualify as the sort of "consulting" that pollsters typically provide to

On the other hand, notice that the Giuliani campaign
reported spending only $78,283 on "survey research," but paid $289,950 to their
polling firm, the Tarrance Group (the firm founded by Lance Tarrance but now
run by his former partners). That discrepancy results because the Giuliani
campaign categorized most of they payment to their pollster as "political
strategy consulting." So in this case, I assume that "consulting" probably
included the cost of actual survey work.

Type corrected

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