Poll: The More You're Worth, the More You're for Romney
With President Barack Obama's occasional bouts of populist rhetoric, it's easy to forget that the president was elected in 2008 with strong support from many of the wealthy.
Obama won 52 percent of the votes among those making $200,000 or more a year – 17 points more than John Kerry got from that group in 2004.
In the last election, Obama also raised more money than his Republican opponent, John McCain, in eight of the nation's 10 richest zip codes (including millions from Wall Street and the corporate sector) and he won eight out of ten of the richest counties.
This time around may be different.
Merely affluent investors are also leaning toward Romney. Fully 56 percent of investors with $500,000 to $999,000 in investible assets plan to vote for Romney. Voters with investible assets of $100,000 to $499,000 are roughly split 50-50.
Affluent women are more likely to vote for Obama (54 percent), while affluent men are more aligned with Romney (60 percent), according to the poll.
The fact that many of the wealthy plan to vote for Romney won’t likely come as a surprise, especially to those on the left. Obama has painted himself as the man of the people and Romney as the man of the millionaire people.
Taxes are seen as the great dividing line: Obama wants to raise them for the rich, Romney wants to keep them low for job creators. Many on the left will no doubt see the poll as proof that Romney is out to protect and coddle the wealthy.
But here’s the surprise. Taxes aren’t the top priority for affluent voters. They don’t even rank in the top five priorities.
When asked what issues are most important to them in the coming election, people with $100,000 or more in investible assets said the economy ranked first. Second was national debt. Third was national security, followed by health care, unemployment and social issues.
Taxes ranked dead last.
"The take-away here is that for wealthy voters it's all about the economy and jobs," said George Walper, president of Spectrem. "The media would sometimes like to think that this is about social issues or taxes. But these are ancillary issues. No one likes to pay more taxes. But most of the wealthy we talk to know their taxes may go up a little and they're resigned to that. The other things are more important."
-By CNBC's Robert Frank
Follow Robert Frank on Twitter: @robtfrank