Remember back in 2008, when Wall Street was a huge supporter of soon-to-be-President Barack Obama? Fast-forward six years and the sentiment has changed quite a bit. In fact, bankers appear to have more gripes with the president than virtually any other population.
A new poll conducted in late October found that just 17% of financial industry participants approve of the job Obama has done, with 73% disapproving. That’s a stark contrast from the general population, which gives Obama a 41% approval/54% disapproval rating, according to the U.S. Midterm Elections Survey, which surveyed around 200 bankers. Roughly half of all respondents gave Obama an “F” grade when it comes to his performance on issues concerning the U.S. financial services industry.
The president can at least feel good that he is not the only one receiving dirty looks from Wall Street. Just 8% of bankers think Congress is performing well, so he’s in good company I guess?
As one would imagine, Wall Street’s donations to Democrats have dried up as Obama’s approval rating among bankers has plummeted. In 2008, roughly 20% of Obama’s overall donations came from Wall Street. This year, banks like Goldman Sachs have given two-thirds of their donations to the Republican Party. Around 70% of financial services workers would like to see Republicans control the Senate.
The reason for all the Obama hate wasn’t detailed in the study, but there are several reasons to choose from. Larger taxes for high earners, regulatory measures aimed to moderate risk but that also limit profitability, and his general stance on banker pay, to name a few.
Back in July, Obama said that profit incentives at big banks were an “unfinished piece of business” for his administration, and that he would take “additional steps” to rein in risky trading behavior.
Interestingly, 88% of respondents said that financial markets will perform better if Republicans win control of the Senate. While it’s not apples-to-apples, the markets historically perform much better with a Democrat in the White House. Since 1901, the S&P is up 12.1% per year under a Democratic president. It’s up just 5.1% per year under a Republican administration.
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