All candidates who ran or are running in the 2016 presidential election have raised a total of over $25 million in Massachusetts up until the end of August, with $13 million going to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and $950,000 going to Republican nominee Donald Trump, according to a report released by the Federal Election Commission on Sept. 20.
Roughly 85 percent of Massachusetts contributions went to candidates from the Democratic Party, while the remainder mostly went to Republican candidates, according to the report.
The Massachusetts campaign offices for the presidential candidates were not available for comment.
Professors around the Boston area said Clinton’s lead in Massachusetts is reflective of the Commonwealth’s reputation as a Democratic stronghold.
Mitchell Zuckoff, a journalism professor at Boston University, said the amount of donations Clinton received is “not surprising,” as Massachusetts voters tend to be more liberal than the rest of the country.
“She represents Massachusetts’ political realities much more closely than Donald Trump does,” Zuckoff said. “Going back to 1972, Massachusetts was the only state that went for the Democratic presidential nominee [George] McGovern; every other state, 49 other states went for Richard Nixon. That gives you a sense on how Democratic-leaning Massachusetts is.”
Although Clinton’s national standing would still need to be determined, “it’s almost certain that Hillary Clinton will win Massachusetts,” Zuckoff said.
“That won’t be enough to win the presidency necessarily,” he said. “We’ll need to see what happens.”
John Portz, a political science professor at Northeastern University, wrote in an email that fundraising efforts can help candidates acquire more visibility through media coverage.
“Both Trump and Clinton have plenty of visibility, but the money advantage for Clinton can help in the organization and media efforts,” Portz wrote. “Democrats typically do better in fundraising, but the large number of unenrolled votes does create an opportunity for a moderate Republican to be successful. We’ve seen that a number of times in gubernatorial elections.”
Thomas Fiedler, the dean of BU’s College of Communication, wrote in an email that Trump lacks financial support in Massachusetts due to the GOP establishment’s opposition to him.
“Gov. Charlie Baker has said he won’t vote for Trump, which caused Trump to hurl insults back at him,” Fiedler wrote. “As a result, the state’s Republican fundraisers and contributors have sat on their checkbooks and are likely to do so.”
BU political science professor Virginia Sapiro wrote in an email that campaign efforts are not measured on “the numbers,” but on how candidates use the garnered money.
“The only way that is possible to run a major campaign in an election one hopes to win and reach out to voters (unless one is already a famous TV star and/or extremely rich) is to organize campaigns in every state you want to win,” Sapiro wrote. “That is all really expensive.”
Several Boston residents said Clinton’s popularity in Massachusetts results from the state’s historic Democratic preference.
Supporting neither the Democratic nor Republican candidate, Maty Cropley, 44, of Jamaica Plain noted that most of the Massachusetts “legislature is Democratic,” and the government needs to listen to the people’s voice.
“It’s probably not surprising considering the state is even known for being more Democratic than Republican,” Cropley said. “We need a more aspirational government. We seem to always be in crisis management, like 24-hour crisis management.”
Pedro Miranda, 48, of the South End, said the Democratic Party gets more support from Massachusetts because of the state’s diversity.
“She got the supporters,” he said. “It’s a multicultural state — people from many countries. I hope [the government] work[s] more for the middle class and low-income people.”
Hannah Moore, 23, of Brighton, said people tend to give more financial support to Clinton due to Trump’s “super-rich” reputation.
“It’s really important that we really support democracy because it does seem to be associated with the United States in general,” she said. “When I think of Massachusetts, I like to think of it as the heart of America, and when I think of America, I think of democracy, and I think that certain candidates represent that more than others.”