The first basic thing we should remember is that there is a whole lot more money sloshing around in this cycle. A candidate who raises ten million dollars for a quarter today has the same impact as raising four or five million dollars in 2003. Therefore any equal dollar comparison between 2007 and 2003 is a negative comparison for the current candidate and campaign.
Patrick Ruffini at Townhall is trying to pump up support for Fred Thompson and portray a massive outswelling of support for his campaign from right wing internet activists.
Sources close to the Thompson campaign have passed along the following first-day results for ImWithFred.com:
# Averaged close to 1,500 people per hour signing up as friends
# Averaged $12,000 per hour in contributions
# Raised more than $220,000 dollars via the website
# Seen just under half of the Friends send a message to others asking them to sign up or give.
We'll see what traffic measuring services like Alexa say in a day or so, but this has to be considered a powerful shot across the bow.
I don't think that this is particularly impressive, especially for a candidate who has been receiving solid free media speculation, some establishment support and a stealth campaign. For comparison, the Dean for America campaign, approximately three weeks later into the 2003 cycle had a $500,000 haul for a two day period before they instituted their hardest push for the end of quarter numbers.
These two comparisons are not perfect comparisons as the Dean campaign had been around longer and were operating slightly later in the cycle, so they should, all else being equal, do better than the Thompson campaign. The Dean campaign was running a fund-raising pace over the internet equal to or slightly higher than the Thompson campaign. This speaks poorly for the Thompson campaign as they are operating in a much richer pool of potential donors and they have a similarly strong incentive to rack up a very impressive first announcement number to gain a 'credible candidate' narrative.