The vast majority of 2012 campaign contributions from the securities and investment industry has flowed to the Republican party, with Mitt Romney emerging as the industry's preferred candidate.
Wall Street's overwhelming support for Republicans, detailed in an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, marks a sharp reversal from the 2008 presidential contest. The securities and investment sector was President Barack Obama's fourth-largest backer then, with individuals and political action committees sending an unprecedented $15.8 million to Obama's campaign.
As recently as October, Obama had leveraged his incumbent advantage -- including the help of the Democratic National Committee -- to haul in more money from financial industry employees like bankers and hedge fund managers than all of his Republican opponents combined. But with the Republican field clarifying, and Romney increasingly looking like the eventual nominee, Wall Street has switched allegiances.
The industry had poured some $33 million into the presidential race through February, a figure that accounts for donations to political campaigns and to SuperPACs. SuperPACs are able to accept unlimited contributions and are legally barred from coordinating with campaigns, although each candidate has an allied SuperPAC.
Of that nearly $33 million, about $30.2 million -- roughly 92 percent -- has gone to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Romney and the Restore Our Future SuperPAC supporting his campaign have reaped about 72 percent of the total.
Demonstrating the immense influence wielded by SuperPACs, Restore Our Future pulled in more money than Romney himself: the candidate had drawn $7.2 million from the securities and investment industry, whereas the SuperPAC pulled in $16.5 million. The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Restore Our Future has collected $36.6 million so far, nearly half from the securities and investment sector.
As of late March, the top five contributors to Romney's campaign were all financial institutions.