Nicholas Confessore / New York Times News Service

President Barack Obama and the Democrats shattered the election cycle’s fundraising record with a $181 million haul for September, the campaign announced Saturday.

The amount, a mix of funds raised directly by the campaign and large checks taken in by the Democratic National Committee, was even more than some earlier reports had suggested. And while it did not quite match the roughly $191 million that Obama and the Democrats raised during the same month four years ago, the announcement offered a jolt of good news for Obama’s supporters after his lackluster debate performance Wednesday left many of them worried.

The campaign began emailing supporters early Saturday and announced the news on Twitter shortly after 10 a.m. An email from Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, with the subject line “This is big, big news,” included testimonials from donors.

Mitt Romney has not yet announced his fundraising totals for the month. But a Romney spokeswoman said the Republicans had done well after Wednesday’s debate, raising $12 million online in less than 48 hours, more than after Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate in August. Sixty percent of the money came from first-time donors, according to the campaign.

September is often a strong month for presidential campaign fundraising, as voters begin to focus on the race and candidates’ devoted supporters begin gearing up for the general election. Obama’s September fundraising total included money contributed during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., when the president, his wife, Michelle, and former President Bill Clinton all delivered major speeches.

The campaign said it received donations from close to 4 million people since Obama announced his re-election bid last year. Contributions were received in September from 1,825,813 people, 567,000 of them new donors, the campaign said.

September was a second strong fundraising month in a row for Obama, at a time when his campaign is bracing for an onslaught of late advertising from Republican-aligned super PACs and other outside groups. In August, Obama and the Democratic committee raised $114 million, more than the $111.6 million raised by Romney and the Republicans.