Health Sector, Lawyers, Hollywood and Tech Industry Favor Obama With Campaign Cash

October 26, 2011 08:47

Though he may no longer be Wall Street’s preferred candidate, Obama continues to win the support of several smaller sectors and interest groups, including lawyers, health professionals, the technology industry and Hollywood.


The newest release of campaign finance data revealed several interesting things about President Barack Obama’s campaign. Most notably, the data divulged his campaign’s unrivaled grassroots fund-raising and its losing battle with Republican Mitt Romney over the Wall Street money that helped Obama out-raise and defeat Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 campaign.

Though he may no longer be Wall Street’s preferred candidate, Obama continues to win the support of several smaller sectors and interest groups, including lawyers, health professionals, the technology industry and Hollywood.

In many of these areas, Obama’s fund-raising significantly outpaces Romney’s, who, at this point, ranks as the president’s most formidable fund-raising foe.

To be clear, Obama has raised more than his GOP rivals from almost all sectors. Part of this can be attributed to the inherent advantages enjoyed by incumbents — such as better name recognition, publicity and existing connections with wealthy donors. Giving to the candidate with such advantages is often the safe bet for groups wanting to align with the winning candidate.
Still, there are several sectors in which Obama’s fund-raising efforts compared to his opponents’ reveal interesting details about the race.


The health sector, which includes physicians and other health professionals, is one of the sectors in which Obama’s campaign has a considerable advantage.

His campaign has raised $1.6 million from the health sector, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s 76 percent more than the $920,000 raised by Romney and more than three times the $494,000 raised by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Within the health sector, the pharmaceutical industry has dramatically favored Obama, whose Affordable Care Act, notably, did not allow Medicare to negotiate with drug-makers for lower prices or allow individuals to “re-import” prescription drugs from Canada or other industrialized nations.

These interests have given him $230,000, compared to the $161,000 they’ve given Romney or the $43,000 they’ve doled out to Perry.

The contributions of health insurance interests are also particularly interesting.

Individuals within the health insurance industry have given Romney $111,000 and Obama $91,000 so far this year, according to the Center’s research, making them far and away the industry’s favorite candidates.

As OpenSecrets Blog previously reported, Romney and Obama are also the only candidates to push health care reform plans that included a mandate for individuals to purchase private insurance, albeit with government subsidies to help low-income people afford coverage. Romney did so in 2006 while governor of Massachusetts, which served as a guide for Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Technology and Communications

The communications and electronics sector is one of Obama’s largest sources of funds, having given him $2.7 million, according to the Center’s research. Only one other presidential candidate has received more than $300,000 from this sector. That’s Romney, who has collected $700,000.

The biggest industry within this sector is the TV, movies and music industry, much of which could be described as Hollywood. This industry has already contributed $15 million to political interests during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center’s research, about 70 percent of which went to Democratic causes.

Employees of Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest video and internet services provider, made the company Obama’s top contributor until the third quarter, when it was overtaken by Microsoft. Still, Comcast employees have given Obama $116,000 and the company’s executive vice president, David Cohen, has bundled at least $500,000 for the president and the Democratic National Committee so far this year.

Similarly, the companies associated with the computers/Internet industry also prefer Obama over the Republican candidates, according to the Center’s research. The $1.2 million Obama has raised from the these interests is 3.3 times as much as the $374,000 that Romney has raised from the industry.

Notably, Microsoft is currently the company whose employees have given the most to Obama.

Microsoft employees have so far contributed $170,000 to Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, according to the Center’s research. Meanwhile, Google, another member of the computers and internet industry, is the fourth biggest giver to Obama, with its employees giving him $90,000 as of Sept. 30, the date of the most recent campaign finance reports.


The legal sector is another important fund-raising constituency for Obama. Lawyers and employees of law firms and lobbying shops account for $4 million in contributions, according to the Center’s research. Employees at several firms have collectively contributed more than $45,000 — enough to rank their firms among the top organizations contributing to Obama.

For instance, employees of DLA Piper have given the president at least $79,000, and employees at Skadden, Arps et al. have contributed $64,100. Notably, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) is a “senior policy advisor” at DLA Piper.

Legal interests have given to Romney and Perry as well, though to a lesser extent.

Romney has thus far received $1.7 million from lawyers and lobbyists, according to the Center’s research, while Perry has collected $549,000.

Other Sectors

While Obama generally raises more than the other presidential candidates, there are sectors in which they out raise him.

The transportation sector, for example, has given about $460,000 to both Romney and Perry — triple the amount it has given to Obama, according to the Center’s research.

Construction interests have also given more to both Romney and Perry than Obama.  And the agribusiness sector has donated $309,000 to Romney – much more than $35,000 than they have given to Obama.

The same goes for the energy and natural resources sector, which includes energy companies, electric utilities and mining companies. These groups preferred Perry the most, having given him $1.2 million in contributions as OpenSecrets Blog previously reported. Employees of mining company Murray Energy alone have given Perry’s campaign $66,000, the second-most of any contributor.

And Romney, too, received more than Obama from this sector — $532,000 compared versus $395,000 for Obama.

Within this sector, the oil and gas interests heavily favor Romney and Perry in their contributions. Obama has received $84,000 from these groups, while Romney has gotten $274,700 and Perry nearly $650,000.

Center for Responsive Politics senior researcher Doug Weber contributed to this report.

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