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Obama, Romney tied on LI fundraising

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Credit: AP, 2012

WASHINGTON - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama is neck-and-neck with his Republican rival Mitt Romney in fundraising on Long Island this year and is holding his own in the local money chase compared with his campaign in 2008, an analysis of campaign finance data show.

But the amount Obama has collected so far overall in New York State -- and especially in Manhattan, where experts say he is experiencing a backlash from Wall Street donors unhappy with his push for more regulation of the financial services industry -- is less than his take four years ago, the analysis found.

"It's hard evidence that there's been some shift there in the two elections," James Campbell, an expert on campaign finance at the state University at Albany, said of the analysis.

"There is some of that bumpiness in the Wall Street community coming out of the city," said Jay Jacobs, Nassau County Democratic chairman. "But you still have base Democratic enthusiasm for Barack Obama. You see that in places like Nassau County and Suffolk."

Mike Dawidziak, a Republican strategist in Bohemia, said the shift in Manhattan donations reflected changed attitudes.

"Those people were probably very enthused about Obama four years ago," he said. But now, he said, "These major-dollar donors are voting their pocket book."

Overall, Obama has raised $255.2 million -- twice as much as Romney's $120.6 million -- for his campaign fund for this year's presidential race from donors in New York State and nationwide, federal filings show. New national polls last week had Obama ahead by three to seven percentage points.

But Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and founder of Bain Capital, is gaining ground nationally in fundraising.

Romney's aides recently reported a $106-million national total from joint fundraising with the Republican party in June, topping Obama and the Democrats by $35 million. That prompted the Obama campaign to warn donors the president might be outraised and outspent this year.

Romney also attended three big-ticket fundraisers in the Hamptons on July 8, and they are likely to give his Long Island totals a bump. Details won't be public until next month.

Obama has not visited or held a campaign fundraiser on Long Island, said Jacobs, and most likely won't, sticking to Manhattan instead.

Yet the president has maintained his level of fundraising on Long Island, taking in more compared with his first White House run in two-thirds of the ZIP codes.

Still, Obama, with $1.4 million and Romney with $1.2 million from Nassau and Suffolk county residents, are virtually even in the race for local contributions through the end of May, the most recent data available.

The findings emerge from a Newsday analysis of presidential campaign finance filings of Obama and his Republican rivals through May 31 in 2008 and 2012 by New York ZIP codes.

It is based on funds from donors identified in federal filings by the presidential campaign committees.

Donors of $200 or less who weren't identified were excluded, though they contributed half of Obama's national total.

The Obama campaign said the analysis should include money raised at joint fundraisers with the Democratic National Committee, such as the Obama Victory Fund, whose reports show it raised $55.4 million in New York.

But the Newsday analysis focuses only on money controlled by presidential campaign committees, and its data include the $5,000 of each maximum $70,800 donation at joint fundraisers that go to a presidential campaign fund.

The Romney campaign declined to comment.

The analysis underscores a concern for Obama -- a drop in Wall Street financial support.

With Manhattan providing the bulk of the money, Obama reported raising $17.5 million statewide so far, down $5 million from this point in 2008.

In contrast, Romney has raised $10.7 million in New York, his campaign fund reported. That's $3 million more than John McCain raised.

Some of the change can be explained by differences in circumstances between 2008 and 2012.

In May 2008, Obama was at the end of a 17-month primary battle with then-New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Obama had no primary opponent this year and politicians running for president in both parties began fundraising later. Also, the nation still is struggling to recover from the severe recession that began in 2008.

But anger at Obama's push for financial industry regulations, higher taxes for families making more than $250,000 and his attacks on Wall Street pay -- play a role, Campbell said.

"He has made class appeals repeatedly throughout the presidency," he said. "You have to expect some pushback."

The trend is illustrated by an affluent 46-block stretch from 40th Street to 87th Street on Manhattan's East Side, covering six ZIP codes.

Four years ago, residents of this corridor, which includes what was once called the Silk Stocking district, gave Obama $4 million, twice the amount it gave McCain.

This year, the same area has given Obama $2.5 million -- and Romney $3 million.

Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said the area is reverting to its Republican ways. Its support for former President Bill Clinton, and Obama in 2008, he said, were exceptions.

"The Wall Street people and the rich are going back to their roots," Sheinkopf said. "They're going home."

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