Tech Workers Give It Up to Democrats

Bill Gates likes Obama but Microsoft workers favor Clinton.

Google employees are in the tank for Barack Obama. So is Bill Gates. But the Microsoft rank and file prefer Hillary Clinton. Cisco CEO John Chambers backs John McCain, although his employees are supporting Clinton.

In an eWEEK analysis of individual political contributors at the nations largest technology and telecom firms, tech workers are overwhelmingly betting their presidential dollars on the Democrats.

More than 70 percent of the $929,829 contributed by the companies employees to presidential candidates through the first three quarters of 2007 went to Democrats. Of the 23 companies surveyed, only two—Dell and Qualcomm—contributed more money to Republicans than Democrats.

At the 21 companies backing Democrats, its Clinton and Obama by a mile. Clinton has raked in $290,983, with Obama close behind with $281,207. Trailing far behind in third is John Edwards at $43,552. Contributions to Clinton and Obama alone represent 61.5 percent of all donations.

Google workers lead the list of total contributions with $114,020 spread over four Democrats and three Republicans. Obama is the top choice at the Googleplex with more than $57,000 in contributions. Over the same period, Google employees gave $30,500 to Clinton. Top pick among Republican Googlies: Ron Paul with almost $15,000.

IBM ($106,356) and Microsoft ($103,172) closely follow Google in contributions. Obama is the favorite at Big Blue with $42,000 in campaign donations, while Clinton drew $26,635 in contributions. Republicans favored by IBM workers include McCain ($5,346), Mike Huckabee ($3,700) and Paul ($3,306).

At Microsoft, Gates dropped $2,300 on Obama, while the bulk of his empire sent $41,790 to Clinton, and they sent just a little more than half of that amount to Obama ($23,840). Mitt Romney ($10,525) and Paul ($8,113) are the Republican favorites in Redmond.

Among the Republican candidates, tech employees have contributed $94,800 to McCain. Paul, this election cycles Internet phenom, has pulled in $59,710, with Mitt Romney receiving $53,085. Rudy Giuliani is a distant fourth at $22,550.

"It doesnt really surprise me. Tech workers are very interested and engaged in politics," said Julie Germany, deputy director of George Washington Universitys Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. "They tend to skew Democrat and it appears they are banking their money on the Democrats."

Even among the telecoms, which have traditionally backed Republicans, tech workers are voting Democratic with their wallets. Of the more than $210,000 donated by AT&T, Verizon and Qwest employees, $128,529 went to Democrats. Clinton heads the telecom workers list with $55,908 in donations. Obama is second with $47,467.


For Republicans, McCain leads among telecom employees with $42,275. Paul received $11,581 and Giuliani, $8,950.

"It may be a sign of a shift in expectations about the election with a greater interest among them in Democrats," Germany said.

Clintons largest contributions have come from Microsoft ($41,790), Google ($30,500), AT&T ($27,838), IBM ($26,635), Verizon ($25,250) and Oracle ($21,740). Obamas major support comes from Google ($57,100), IBM ($42,056), AT&T ($28,866), Microsoft ($23,840), Verizon ($17,054) and Symantec ($15,870).

Qwest, Qualcomm and AT&T are the top three companies contributing to McCain.

"At the end of the day, people like to bet their money on the candidates they think will win," Germany said.


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