Red vs. Blue: Companies ranked by political donations: Apple among bluest, Dell among reddest

“Should investors care about the political beliefs of executives? According to the managers of the Blue Fund, a mutual fund launched in the US in time for the mid-term elections, they should. The name (as in ‘blue states’) shows it is designed for Democrats. But its also shows Republicans how to invest in line with their politics,” John Authers reports for The Financial Times. “Blue Fund looks at the political donations a company has made from corporate political action committees, and from the pockets of its three most senior executives.”

“The research has yielded lists of ‘red’ and ‘blue’ companies, which gave 95 per cent of their donations to Republicans and Democrats respectively over the past 10 years. The bluest include Google, Apple Computer, Starbucks and Costco. The reddest include Exxon Mobil, Union Pacific, International Paper, Halliburton and Dell,” Authers reports.

“Over the five years to June this year, the blue index gained 139 per cent, compared with 34 per cent for the S&P 500, which in turn beat the red index. Even excluding recent stars Google and Apple, the blues are easily ahead,” Authers writes. “How seriously should we take this? It may be a fluke. Republicans could argue that after such a rally it looks time to sell blue stocks, and they should dispute the Blue Fund’s contention that Apple’s principles have helped it to be more innovative than Dell. Dell’s political conservatism did not stop it from revolutionising its industry in the 1990s.”

Authers reports, “Under President Bill Clinton, Dell grew at 93.8 per cent per year, according to Bloomberg data, while Apple fell at a 4.6 per cent annual clip. Under President George W. Bush, Dell has limped along at 3.8 per cent a year, while Apple grew at 47.5 per cent.”

Full article (subscription required) here.
Authers’ use of the word “innovative” in relation to Dell is unfortunate. Apple, which does it all, is clearly vastly more innovative than the Wal-Martesque PC box assembler Dell, regardless of politics. The political party of the U.S. President has about as much effect on the fortunes of Apple and Dell as Punxsutawney Phil has on the weather (although one might argue that Microsoft’s slap on the wrist vs. more severe penalties in the U.S. DOJ antitrust case was by some measure related to the administration in charge and could’ve changed the dynamics of the Mac vs. Windows market).

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  1. True, the political party of the sitting president is irrelevant to the economic fortunes of the companies compared.

    But the political leanings explain a great deal about why one company is pathetic imitator and the other is a leader with bold ideas.

    Uninformed trailer trash support Republicans out of fear and ignorance. Enlightened, intelligent, informed people do not.

  2. democrats sucks as much as reps. what the US needs is a restart. Sure, I guess the dems will get lots of protest voters coming from ex-reps. since the current setup in Washington is a slap in the face of humanity. However, I doubt the dems will be able to reverse or repair what has been done. It’s all really sad. :((***

  3. The amazing thing about many of the bush/Cheney NeoCon crowd is that they do not vote their own interest. The working poor/middle class evangelicals support people who give huge tax cuts to the very wealthy at the expense of everyone else, export jobs overseas, drive down their wages, undermine their unions and worker protections, oppose healthcare reform, etc.

    Look at this map of where people without healthcare are. Most are firmly in the NeoCon grip. Maybe that’s why so many go to faith healers. They also buy a lot of cheap Windoze PeeCees at Wal-Mart.

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