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October 04, 2008

Tech Employees' Political Contributions Dramatically Favor Obama

That the San Francisco Bay Area, surrounding Silicon Valley, is left-leaning is no surprise. With rare exceptions, including eBay's Meg Whitman and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, the majority of tech titans have traditionally leaned in favor of the Democratic Party. Recently, you also saw Google join the fray, joining Democrats in standing against Proposition 8, the California proposition that would restrict marriage to heterosexual couples. This comes despite Republicans' traditional strength in more affluent communities, which certainly describes parts of Silicon Valley. Looking a level deeper, by searching public political donation records, the gap between donations to Republican candidates and Democratic candidates from tech company employees in the 2008 campaign is massive.

Utilizing The Huffington Post's FundRace 2008 site, I looked at many household tech names, from traditional hardware companies like Apple and Cisco to newer online brands, including Facebook and LinkedIn. The list is by no means exhaustive, but provides a starting point, should you choose to do more research. Also, despite The Huffington Post's left-leaning foundation, I do not believe their editorial slant had any impact on the database. In fact, the site says, "All calculations are based on public records filed with the FEC of contributions by all individuals totaling more than $200 (and some totaling less than $200) to a single Republican or Democratic presidential campaign or national committee for the 2004 and 2008 election cycles."

Donations to the 2008 election cycle by prominent tech companies:



Employer: Adobe (Donations)
$10,649 was given by people who identified their employer as "Adobe".
$2,900 from 5 people to Republicans
$7,749 from 18 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Adobe: 72.7%



Employer: Amazon.com (Donations)
$123,703 was given by people who identified their employer as "Amazon.com".
$9,660 from 6 people to Republicans
$114,043 from 132 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Amazon.com: 92.2%



Employer: America Online OR AOL (Results Combined) (Donations)
$190,220 was given by people who identified their employer as "America Online" or "AOL".
$11,835 from 12 people to Republicans
$178,385 from 110 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from AOL: 93.8%



Employer: Apple (Donations)
$61,817 was given by people who identified their employer as "Apple".
$6,856 from 9 people to Republicans
$54,961 from 73 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Apple: 88.9%



Employer: Cisco (Donations)
$119,469 was given by people who identified their employer as "Cisco".
$28,975 from 24 people to Republicans
$90,494 from 103 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Cisco: 75.7%



Employer: Digg (Donations)
$750 was given by people who identified their employer as "Digg".
$0 to Republicans
$750 from 2 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Digg: 100%



Employer: eBay (Donations)
$68,942 was given by people who identified their employer as "eBay".
$7,565 from 9 people to Republicans
$61,377 from 67 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from eBay: 89%



Employer: Facebook (Donations)
$2,700 was given by people who identified their employer as "Facebook".
$250 from 1 person to Republicans
$2,450 from 4 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Facebook: 90.7%



Employer: Friendster (Donations)
$563 was given by people who identified their employer as "Friendster".
$0 to Republicans
$563 from 2 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Friendster: 100%



Employer: Google (Donations)
$474,863 was given by people who identified their employer as "Google".
$51,677 from 42 people to Republicans
$423,186 from 306 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Google: 89.1%



Employer: HP OR Hewlett Packard (Results Combined) (Donations)
$278,123 was given by people who identified their employer as "HP" or "Hewlett Packard").
$44,586 from 83 people to Republicans
$233,537 from 351 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from HP: 83.9%



Employer: LinkedIn (Donations)
$3,375 was given by people who identified their employer as "LinkedIn".
$0 to Republicans
$3,375 from 4 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from LinkedIn: 100%



Employer: Microsoft (Donations)
$1,195,146 was given by people who identified their employer as "Microsoft".
$247,090 from 180 people to Republicans
$948,056 from 854 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Microsoft: 79.3%



Employer: Mozilla (Donations)
$750 was given by people who identified their employer as "Mozilla".
$0 to Republicans
$750 from 2 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Mozilla: 100%



Employer: MySpace (Donations)
$3,989 was given by people who identified their employer as "MySpace".
$0 to Republicans
$3,989 from 5 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from MySpace: 100%



Employer: PayPal (Donations)
$4,502 was given by people who identified their employer as "PayPal".
$1,000 from 2 people to Republicans
$3,502 from 7 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from PayPal: 77.8%



Employer: Sun OR Sun Microsystems (Results Combined) (Donations)
$179,871 was given by people who identified their employer as "Sun".
$30,164 from 37 people to Republicans
$149,707 from 214 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Sun: 83.2%



Employer: Yahoo! (Donations)
$62,282 was given by people who identified their employer as "Yahoo".
$3,815 from 3 people to Republicans
$58,467 from 69 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from Yahoo!: 93.9%



Employer: YouTube (Donations)
older results
$5,135 was given by people who identified their employer as "YouTube".
$0 to Republicans
$5,135 from 5 people to Democrats

% of donations going to Democrats from YouTube: 100%



There's no question this is by no means an exhaustive list of tech companies, but this sample alone shows the overwhelming leanings the employees of these firms have, and where they have opted to put their money in this year's election campaign. Perusing the lists shows not just support for Barack Obama, but additional funds supporting Hillary Clinton's efforts during the primary season. On the Republican side, you also see some occasional support for Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, in addition to John McCain.

All told, of these 19 companies (including eBay's PayPal and Google's YouTube as separate entities), employees are listed as having donated $2,786,849 to the 2008 election cycle, more than $1 million of that coming from Microsoft. Of the nearly $2.8 million from these select companies, more than $2.3 million was donated to Democratic candidates, representing 84% of all donations.

Also of interest, searches for employees at many Web 2.0 companies didn't show any donations, including SmugMug, Twitter, or Technorati. Since I left so many out, feel free to head to the FundRace page and pass along the results you find.