IN THE MONEY, PART II….I had an item earlier this week on Democratic presidential candidates’ fundraising in the second quarter, so it seems only fair to note the Republicans’ fundraising efforts as well. For the GOP, the results are less than encouraging.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who led the Republican field in money raised in the first three months of the year, said donations to his primary campaign had dropped by a third in the second quarter, to $14 million from $20.5 million. Mr. Romney lent his campaign another $6.5 million out of his personal fortune to soften the impact of the decline in donations.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, raised more in the second quarter than he did in the first: $17 million including $2 million that he can use only if he wins the Republican nomination, versus about $15 million. But unlike the first quarter, when his fund-raising operation was just getting up and running, his campaign was fully operational in the second quarter.

As a rule, second-quarter receipts surpass first-quarter receipts, as candidates start to build a larger base of support and voters grow more engaged. Given this, those hoping for a Republican victory next year have to be rather discouraged this week.

In the first quarter, the top three Dems outraised the top three Republicans, $65 million to $50.5 million. In the second quarter, the same test showed Dems ahead, $68.5 million to $48.7 million.

Here’s an even more startling detail: more Americans donated to Barack Obama’s campaign than donated to Giuliani, Romney, and McCain combined.

The New York Times noted, “Put together, the results for the three leading Republicans amounted to a stark indication of a gap in enthusiasm and confidence between the two parties.” That’s putting it mildly.

It can’t be all Bush’s fault. Is the Republican field really this uninspiring to the GOP faithful?

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.