Jane Mayer's New Yorker article, "Schmooze or Lose," on how dearly it may cost President Obama that he doesn't like fawning over big billionaire donors.
The situation is something like this:
For every $1 a more or less regular Joe or Jane voter gives either presidential campaign, a mega-rich voter gives $1,609...publicly.
A pool of only 2100 people have publicly given a total of $200,000,000 to the Romney and Obama campaigns and their Super PACs--that's $52,000,000 more than the combined donations of the 2,500,000 voters who've given $200 or less. I.e., the top .07% of donors are arguably exerting greater influence on the race than the bottom 86%. And these stats don't account for non-disclosed donations--secret gifts--to "nonprofit public-welfare," groups that aren't required to identify contributors.
But, the mega-rich's money doesn't go equally to both candidates' campaigns.
By August 2012:
33 billionaires had given $250,000+ to pro-Republican Super PACs
3 billionaires had given $250,000+ to pro-Democratic Super PACs
Some big 2008 Obama donors now claiming or presumed to be supporting him aren't giving to Super PACs, though some or all gave the $5,000 maximum everyone is allowed to give directly to the Obama 2012 campaign: George Soros (financier), Warren Buffet (investor), Penny Pritzker (Hyatt heiress), Peter Lewis (insurance mogul), and David Geffen (music and film producer).
Some Silicon Valley, NYC, and LA donors one would expect to give to pro-Democratic Super PACs are not, including Chris Hughes (Facebook co-founder) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon.com), though they may give to groups related to specific issues. (Hughes described Obama's reluctance to court the extremely wealthy as "a virtue.")
But, oil, coal, chemical, and Wall Street donors are pumping money into pro-Republican Super PACs.
Mayer's article abounds with the mega-rich whining about Obama's deficient due deference and attention paid to them.
"[The billionaire] feels hurt."
"[Wall Street donors'] view of the White House is 'How dare they?'"
"There's been no thanks for anyone!"
"You have to suck up[, Mr. President]!"
"There used to be regularized dinners, and stays at the Lincoln Bedroom or Camp David."
"Ego is a big part of the business out there [among donors]."
In The Audacity of Hope, Obama
describes the law firm partners and investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and venture capitalists" whom he courted for donations to his 2004 Senate campaign as mostly "smart, interesting people," who asked for no specific favors. Yet, Obama wrote, politicians who spent too much time among the wealthy risked losing touch with the "frequent hardship of the other 99 percent of the population--that is, the people that I'd entered public life to serve."