Plenty of research shows that campaign spending makes very little difference. See this article on FiveThirtyEight, for example.

So why does so much news reporting, like this, focus on that topic as if it is important? Why do candidates put so much effort into fund-raising?

I am particularly interested in the 2020 US presidential campaign for this topic.

(The counter-point here would be the 2016 US presidential campaign, where one candidate in fact did not bother very much to fund-raise, and won.)

  • If campaign funding isn't important, it seems inconsistent with the fact that so many in the U.S. Congress had expensive campaigns, and remarkably few have been elected on a shoestring.
    – agc
    Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 12:56
  • Exactly my question. So is the linked article wrong (along with all other articles I can find on a Google search of "does campaign spending matter") ? Another interpretation is that spending does not CAUSE winning (see the article). Rather, in some cases donors give money to curry favor. and the leader gets more of such donations. But for US presidential campaigns, I am not sure that that explanation works.
    – Joshua Fox
    Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 13:08
  • I think a partial explanation to your counterpoint is that while Trump may not have bothered to do as much in the way of fundraising, he ended up with a disproportionately high amount of air-time on news media, so he didn't have to raise money to buy advertising time. Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 20:26


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