Visualized: The Biggest Donors of the 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections
This year’s midterm election is expected to set a new spending record, with over $9 billion being raised. This is significantly higher than the previous record of $7 billion, which was set in 2018.
According to a recent analysis by the Washington Post, $1 billion of these funds can be attributed to the top 50 donors. In typical Visual Capitalist style, we’ve illustrated this data to provide you with better insight.
Overview of the Data
The following table lists the top 10 individual donors of the 2022 midterm elections.
|Rank||Name||Affiliation||Total Donation (USD millions)|
|#2||Elizabeth & Richard Uihlein||Republican||$70|
|#10||Patrick & Shirley Ryan||Republican||$27|
Sorting this top 10 donor list by party, we can see that $168 million was raised for the Democrats, and $338 million for the Republicans.
Continue reading below for some interesting background info on all 10 of these individuals. Net worth values were gathered from Forbes on November 1, 2022.
George Soros (Net worth: $7B)
George Soros is a Hungarian-born American billionaire, widely known for his philanthropical efforts and for “breaking” the Bank of England. He has had an illustrious career as a hedge fund manager, founding Soros Fund Management in 1970. Visit this page to see the top 100 holdings of Soros Fund Management’s portfolio.
Soros has donated over $30 billion of his fortune to various causes and charities. He is the founder and chairman of two Super PACs (political action committees) named Democracy PAC and Democracy PAC II.
Unlike regular PACs, Super PACs face no limits in terms of fundraising or political spending.
Elizabeth & Richard Uihlein (Combined net worth: $7B)
Elizabeth & Richard Uihlein are the founders of Uline, one of North America’s largest distributors of logistics supplies (boxes, tape, gloves, etc.). The company makes several billion in sales per year.
The couple have gained media attention for making substantial donations to the Republican party. According to Forbes, the Uihleins have donated a total of $194 million since the 1990s.
Kenneth Griffin (Net worth: $31B)
Kenneth Griffin is the founder and CEO of Citadel, a hedge fund based in the U.S. He also owns Citadel Securities, which is the largest market maker on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
Market makers act as a middleman in financial markets by facilitating buy and sell orders for investors. Using equities (stocks) as an example, when a market maker receives an order from a buyer, it sells shares from its own inventory. This enables the stock market to run smoothly.
Griffin found himself in the spotlight during the GameStop short squeeze when his firm provided emergency funding to Melvin Capital Management.
Jeffrey Yass (Net worth: $30B)
Once a pro gambler, Jeffrey Yass is a cofounder of Susquehanna International Group (SIG), a successful trading firm based in Philadelphia. SIG specializes in quantitative research and trading, which involves the use of computer algorithms to identify opportunities.
Yass is frequently cited as the richest person in the state of Pennsylvania and has gained media attention for his large political contributions.
Sam Bankman-Fried (Net worth: $17B)
Sam Bankman-Fried is the founder and CEO of FTX, which is currently the world’s third largest cryptocurrency exchange behind Binance and Coinbase. The company is based in the Bahamas and offers trading in more than 300 cryptocurrencies.
In May 2022, Bankman-Fried declared that he was willing to donate “north of $100 million” in the upcoming 2024 presidential election. He has since backtracked this comment.
At some point, when you’ve given your message to voters, there’s just not a whole lot more you can do.
– Sam Bankman-Fried
Stephen Schwarzman (Net worth: $35B)
Stephen Schwarzman is the chairman and CEO of The Blackstone Group, a globally recognized private equity firm. Blackstone’s portfolio of companies includes Ancestry.com, a well-known family history service, and Bumble, a popular online dating platform.
Shown below, Schwarzman’s wealth has increased substantially since 2020.
The bulk of Schwarzman’s political contributions have gone towards the Senate Leadership Fund, an independent Super PAC which aims to build a Republican Senate majority.
Timothy Mellon (Family net worth: $11B)
Timothy Mellon was the chairman and majority owner of Pan Am Systems, a privately held company with operations in transportation, manufacturing, and energy. In November 2020, CSX Corporation announced it had signed an agreement to purchase Pan Am. The sale was approved in April 2022.
Mellon made headlines in 2021 when it was revealed that he made a whopping $53 million donation to the Texas border wall fund. At the time of reporting, this represented 98% of total funding.
Larry Ellison (Net worth: $102B)
Larry Ellison is the chairman and cofounder of Oracle, one of the world’s largest software companies. Oracle is listed on the NYSE and has a market cap of over $200 billion. Ellison was also a Tesla board member from December 2018 to August 2022.
The vast majority of his political contributions have gone towards the Opportunity Matters Fund, which supports candidates who promote the Opportunity Agenda. It calls for enhanced financial literacy, apprenticeships, and education options.
Peter Thiel (Net worth: $4B)
Peter Thiel is a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist, perhaps best known for cofounding PayPal. He also cofounded Palantir Technologies, a data analytics company, and is a general partner of Founders Fund, a venture capital firm with investments in major names such as SpaceX.
Thiel is one of the Republican Party’s largest donors, a position that sets him apart from many other Silicon Valley figures. In February 2022, it was reported that he would be stepping down as a Meta board member.
Patrick and Shirley Ryan (Patrick’s net worth: $9B)
Patrick Ryan is the founder and retired CEO of AON Corporation, one of the world’s largest insurance companies. In 2010, he founded another company known as Ryan Specialty Group, which provides services to insurance brokers.
Together with his wife Shirley, the Ryans have made large donations towards the Senate Leadership Fund and other Republican groups.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?
Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.
Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass media—newspapers, TV, and radio—almost every year since then.
The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.
Americans’ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023
Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.
|Trust in the mass media||% Great deal/Fair amount||% Not very much||% None at all|
In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didn’t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.
That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.
The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media
Although there’s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.
According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.
“That may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping in—among the public and the news media—that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhower’s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedy’s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnson’s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixon’s lies about Watergate,”
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School
More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.
Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media
Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.
Democrats’ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.
According to Gallup, Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.
The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.
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