From the NY Times:
The examination, to be released on Wednesday by the city’s Campaign Finance Board, shows that changes enacted before the race encouraged 34,000 New Yorkers to make campaign donations for the first time; drastically curtailed the role of businesses, political committees and lobbyists in campaigns; and caused a major drop in donations from those doing business with the city.
Perhaps most intriguingly, the new data suggests that, in a year when voter turnout was historically low and pundits treated the mayoral election as a foregone conclusion, many New Yorkers of more modest means felt compelled to participate in the election process.
New York City adopted a sweeping campaign finance overhaul in 2007, aiming to create a more level playing field for candidates running against incumbents, who have historically had streams of big donations from special-interest groups and wealthy donors, helping them remain in office.
For the 2009 election, the city matched donations of $175 or less at a ratio of six to one (turning a contribution of $100 into $700). As a result, the Campaign Finance Board found, almost 70 percent of contributors gave $175 or less in 2009, a 22 percent increase in those donations over the election in 2005. Over all, such donations accounted for 15 percent of all the money raised, up from 8.5 percent in 2005.
Among new donors, the percentage was even higher: 80 percent gave $175 or less.
The report suggests that candidates eagerly sought smaller contributors, and employed a wide range of tactics to cultivate them. The most powerful tool seemed to be the widespread acceptance of credit card donations over the Internet. In 2009, such donations more than doubled, reaching 30 percent of all the money raised, the report said.
The growth in small donors helped insurgent candidates topple incumbent opponents in five City Council races — the greatest level of turnover in a generation.