Oct 162012

New York: Wall Street typically prefers a Republican in the White House, but this time it appears to be personal. Wall Street is stung by President Barack Obama’s volte face. In 2008, Obama had the backing of Wall Street and their big bucks, but he has rallied his base this time with stinging populist attacks on the finance industry and Republican rival Mitt Romney’s ties to it.

Obama’s emphasis on higher taxes for the wealthy, and aggressive anti-Wall Street rhetoric have made him a deeply disliked figure on Wall Street. As a result, bankers are voting for Romney with their checkbooks.

“It’s personal,” Greg Zuckerman author of The Greatest Trade Ever, told Daily Ticker. “They feel insulted by President Obama who’s been critical of Wall Street and say he should have focussed more on the deficit and the economy rather than health care reform.”

Wall Street’s love affair with Obama is over

Obama called Wall Street moneybags ‘fat cats’; now, they’ve turned against him..

In 2008, Wall Street generally favoured Obama–Biden over McCain–Palin by a large margin. But Wall Street’s biggest investment firms have fallen decidedly out of love with the president.

Thanks to campaign finance filings, it’s possible to put a price tag on just how much: Romney’s presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting it are out-raising Obama among financial-sector donors $37.1 million to $4.8 million.

In 2008, Goldman Sachs employees donated over $1 million to Obama. That was more than four times the sum they gave to Republican John McCain, and it made Goldman the second-largest donor to the Obama campaign. So far in the 2012 cycle, The Wall Street Journal reports, Goldman employees have chipped in just $136,000 to Obama, and have given their man Romney $900,000. Obama’s references to “fat-cat bankers” apparently sorely miffed Goldman execs.

Ken Griffin, founder of the Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel, has accused Obama of engaging in “class warfare” and gave $2,500 to Romney’s campaign, plus nearly $1.1 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.

Romney understands the business ecosystem

Part of Wall Street’s support for Romney can be chalked up to what Romney stands for, and who he is. Reflecting their political philosophies, Obama and Romney take sharply divergent views when it comes to taxing individuals and companies. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans; Romney would slash rates across the board.

Romney has pledged to do away with what he calls the “excessive regulations” that Obama has enacted. He’s pledged to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all incomes.

Wall Street believes that Romney can kickstart the US economy as he is tuned into the large business ecosystem. Romney co-founded private equity firm Bain Capital in 1984. By 2007, Romney and his wife had a net worth of $190-250 million, most of it held in blind trusts since 2003. Romney’s campaign says he created 100,000 jobs through Bain’s investments in other companies, noting success stories such as Staples and Sports Authority.

Still an open race

Obama has the worst unemployment rate and near-worst economic growth rate of any incumbent in more than 50 years. But it is very much an open race. Obama retained a slim lead over Romney in the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll on Monday. Three weeks before the 6 November US election, Obama leads Romney by 2 percentage points, with 47 percent support from likely voters in the online poll, to 45 percent support for Romney

Meanwhile, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds Romney leads Obama by 4 percentage points among voters in 12 swing states. The poll finds women, especially blue-collar “waitress moms” whose families have been hard-hit by the nation’s economic woes, are the swing voters in 2012′s close race.

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