More CEOs donate to Clinton than to any GOP candidate

Candidates' executive backers
Candidates' executive backers   

The GOP is often considered the party of business — but it looks like the nation's CEOs may not agree.

Hillary Clinton has received more donations from CEOs than any Republican candidate so far this year, according to a Big Crunch analysis of the last complete batch of individual Federal Election Commission records.

More than 760 people have given to Clinton's campaign and identified their occupations as "CEO" or a variation of "chief executive" — that's about as many CEO backers as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz combined.

Most of Clinton's CEO supporters gave to her campaign committee, with an average donation of $2,300, a little less than the $2,700 maximum. Republican candidates tend to receive much larger donations to their super PACs from smaller groups of CEOs, and Bush's Right to Rise USA super PAC has received the largest amount this year from CEOs, nearly $15 million.

CEOs showed little interest in real-life CEOs Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump. And while Cruz and Mike Huckabee have received respectable amounts from fewer than 150 CEOs donating large amounts to their super PACs, more than 60 percent of CEOs identified in filings are pulling for either Bush or Clinton.

Among her supporters, Clinton counts Bob Iger of Disney, Drew Houston of Dropbox and Ursula Burns of Xerox. None of her CEO supporters have given to Republicans this year. Bush's approximately 550 supporters — about equally split between his campaign committee and super PAC — are CEOs like Steve Schwarzman of Blackstone, Roger Penske of Penske and Bob McNair of the Houston Texans.

Of course, those numbers don't include CEOs who don't identify themselves as such when donating — including huge donors such as hedge fund management firm CEO Robert Mercer, who tends to say he's a "financial advisor" or "financial consultant" in filings. We also excluded donations to candidates who have already dropped out — like the millions Rick Perry received but had to give back.

The largest single donation from a self-identified CEO was $3 million from Ronald Cameron, CEO of agribusiness giant Mountaire, supporting Huckabee. Natural gas billionaire Dan Wilks came in second with a $2.5 million donation to Cruz' super PAC (Wilks' family members have together given about $15 million to Cruz' effort).

Bush's top two CEO supporters are energy company founders, while Clinton's top donors run entertainment companies.

A CNBC survey released in May found that Clinton was the favorite presidential candidate among surveyed American millionaires. Clinton garnered 36 percent against the field, with Bush in second place with 20 percent.

While business owners and millionaires tend to lean Republican, surveys show that many are independent and don't vote along party lines. A survey of the CEOs of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies in 2013 also found that Clinton was a favorite — behind only Chris Christie, who has found few footholds elsewhere in this year's race.

Hillary Clinton
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Hillary Clinton

Asked to comment on Clinton's popularity with CEOs, campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin said that the nearly 400,000 people who have supported her campaign know what she is fighting for.

"Hillary Clinton is committed to making sure we have an economy that works for all Americans and not just those at the top," Schwerin said in a statement. "That's why she believes that the measure of our success must be defined by how much income rises for hard-working families, not just CEOs and money managers."