WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Texas has proven more of a gold mine for President Barack Obama's 2012 re-election bid than his home state of Illinois, according to data released by his campaign on Thursday.
Of the first 1 million people who contributed to Obama's 2012 war chest, 53,224 were from Texas, the home of his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, which has not backed a Democratic presidential candidate since 1976. The total for Illinois, a smaller state but a Democratic bastion, was 51,454.
Obama's campaign is a fund-raising juggernaut despite the president's dipping approval ratings. In the six months from April through September, Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised $163 million.
Although it also relies heavily on big donors who contribute thousands of dollars at a time and are essential to any successful White House bid, Obama 2012 works to portray itself as a grass-roots operation supported by ordinary Americans.
Twenty-six percent of the donations were of $10 or less, and 93 percent were $100 or less, the campaign said.
More people from California -- the most populous U.S. state -- backed Obama than from anywhere else, with 147,281 donations. Sparsely populated -- and strongly Republican -- Wyoming, the home of Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, sent the fewest donations, 1,318.
For some reason -- excitement about the upcoming weekend? -- Obama's backers sent money on Thursdays more than on any other day of the week.
Wednesday was the second-most popular day, with 234,493 donations, to Thursday's 300,580, according to the campaign. And the giving peaked both days at lunchtime.
On weekends, Obama enthusiasts apparently found other things to do. Sundays were the slowest giving day and Saturdays were not much better.
The campaign announced on Monday afternoon that it had hit the milestone of 1 million "grass-roots" donors.
Links on the campaign Website also let users see how many people with different first names gave money. For example, 16,059 people named John donated, but only two named Barack.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Additional reporting by Eric Johnson in Chicago, editing by Philip Barbara)