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Wall Street Has High Hopes for Romney

Banks have been some of his biggest contributors this election


The outcome of the election is yet to be decided, but it’s clear who Wall Street is pulling for.

Just look at the numbers. Last election, President Barack Obama got around $16 million from the securities and investment industry, for example, which is $7 million more than GOP rival John McCain brought in.

Chris Christie Dishes Out Tough Love to the GOP
Chris Christie Dishes Out Tough Love to the GOP

This time around, though, things are slightly different. Obama has received a quarter of that amount — around $4 billion — from the same group, while Romney has nearly tripled the President’s lowered total.

And that’s just one piece of the puzzle.

Top donors to Romney’s campaign come from the finance, insurance and real estate sectors and have contributed around $29 million — more than double their contributions to Obama.

And more specifically, donors associated with Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) are some of the leading financial supporters of Romney, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama, on the other hand, doesn’t have any banks among his 10 largest contributors. Goldman Sachs, for one, actually was Obama’s second-largest source of funds in 2008. Now, Goldman is Romney’s No. 1 overall contributor and isn’t even in Obama’s top 20.

What changed? To start, Obama & Co. haven’t been too kind to the financial industry since the president took office. Obama criticized “fat cat” bankers who took large bonuses during the financial crisis early in his presidency, for example. And in trying to shoot down Romney’s credentials, Vice President Joe Biden recently said that a career in private equity “no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber.”

As CNNMoney summed up: “The industry, by all accounts, is not enjoying its thrashing.” The numbers seem to agree.

Another hot-button issue is Dodd-Frank, the Wall Street reform that was signed into law by Obama in 2010 and placed restrictions on banks — restrictions that many thought went too far. The law, including the controversial Volcker Rule that prevents proprietary trading, is expected to be diminished tremendously if Romney is victorious.

And if the Republicans take the presidency, House and Senate, many hope the law will be rewritten altogether, as Romney has promised. He says he will replace it with a “streamlined, modern regulatory framework.”

In fact, only two Wall Streeters have noticeably stood behind Obama, according to Fox Business Network: Larry Fink at BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) and Former Head of UBS (NYSE:UBS) Bob Wolf. And while there is speculation that Fink and Wolf each have a shot at being Treasure Secretary should the president stay in office, most of Wall Street is hoping that isn’t the case — and they’re putting their money where their mouths are.

That’s not to say Obama will be pinching pennies in his race for re-election. His campaign still is bringing in hefty amounts of cash, and he recently became the first politician to top the $1 billion mark for donations collected during his career.

Still, Wall Street doesn’t deserve much thanks from Obama this time around. And by the looks of it, Wall Street doesn’t think Obama deserves much, either.

The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.

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