This article from the Washington Post caught my eye, "2012 GOP contest shaping up to be cheapest race in years,"
"Lost amid all the talk about millionaires influencing the 2012 election is a striking fact: The Republican primaries are shaping up as the cheapest and most financially depressed presidential nominating contests in years."
I found it particularly amusing since, also in today's Washington Post, Dana Milbank had an editorial on the baleful influence of Super Pacs, " Liberal superheroes don’t exactly have super PACs shaking in their boots." You wonder what his reaction was, if he reads the Post, that is.
I discount this whole sturm und drang over campaign financing, and regard most of it as a way to protect incumbents. Even with the Republican races it's hard to tell the impact of money on the outcomes. Perry in theory had access to piles of money, but never gained traction. Gingrich and Santorum are being financed by Adelson and Friess, yet can't break through. Romney has even more money yet can't really get the full support of the party. Just what is the impact of money on this race so far? Then again, given the story in the Post this morning, maybe the issue is they aren't spending enough money.
Does money drive support, or does support drive money. That is, Romney may have more money because he has more (rich) supporters. From a marketing standpoint, my guess is people are less prone to support rich candidates, or candidates funded by a handful of rich benefactors because they figure why give time and money since the candidate will just get it from his rich friends, or his/her bank account. See Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina, Linda McMahon, while Obama had lots of little supporters which also translated into a fervent base of acolytes.