Putting your vote where your money is

The Baltimore Sun

Each voter has his or her own reason for selecting a candidate for president.

Some are loyal to their party. Some weigh a candidate's stance on all the issues or a single topic like the environment, education, the Iraq war or abortion. And it wasn't that long ago that many chose the commander in chief based on which person they wanted to drink a beer with.

But if you had to choose based on which candidate would be better for your investments, then what?

Would you vote for John McCain, who has described himself as "fundamentally a deregulator" and wants to keep the Bush tax cuts? Or would it be Barack Obama, who promises to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000 while cutting taxes for others?

A survey of 1,000 investors commissioned by brokerage Edward Jones found that 41 percent believed a Democrat in the White House would be better for their investments, while 36 percent thought a Republican would help their portfolio.

However, 8 percent preferred neither Democrat or Republican. They can choose among Independents Ralph Nader and Charles O. Baldwin, Libertarian Bob Barr, Green Party Cynthia Ann McKinney and dozens of other aspiring candidates.

The remaining 15 percent of those surveyed wouldn't divulge their presidential pick.

The survey, taken Sept. 5-8, has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Further parsing of the results found that investors near retirement favor a Republican in the Oval Office by 38 percent to 33 percent.

(Maybe they haven't heard that Obama plans to do away with income taxes for retirees with incomes under $50,000.)

Northerners by a margin of 49 percent to 33 percent were more likely to think a Democrat was better for their portfolio. Westerners agreed, favoring a Democrat 44 percent vs. 30 percent for a Republican. Only Southerners (41 percent vs. 35 percent) expected their investments to do better under a Republican president.

Edward Jones says there was a stark contrast among those earning less than $25,000. More than half of them expected to fare better under a Democrat, while 28 percent preferred a Republican president for their portfolio.

Statistically, the market performs best when a Democrat sits in the Oval Office. In the presidential election of 2004, the Stock Trader's Almanac released these statistics:

Republican presidents have held office for nearly 56 years since 1901; Democrats for 48 years. In that time, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 386.7 percent under Republicans but gained 639.6 percent under Democrats. And $10,000 invested would have grown to $81,300 under Republicans; $279,705 under Democrats.

Let's hear your thoughts.

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