On Election Day, Wall Streeters Don’t Matter
Senior Editor, CNBC.com
Here's a hard truth for those on Wall Street who imagine themselves to be masters of the universe.
On Election Day, you don't matter at all.
Wall Street plays a powerful role in our nation's politics—through its lobbying efforts, its campaign donations, and the revolving door that brings politicians into financial firms and financial executives into public office.
But on the one day that many ordinary Americans get to flex their political muscle in the polling booth, Wall Street is more or less powerless.
(Read more: Did Wall Street Just Give Up on Mitt Romney?)
The Wall Street vote is negligible. Across the U.S., the securities industry employs some 800,000 people, according to the The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, but that's too broad a net. A lot of these people you would never classify as "Wall Street." Once you narrow it down to the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area, you are down to just around 260,000 people, with 190,000 or so in New York City.
Wall Street's New Yorkers, then, make up just 2.4 percent of the 7.9 million votes New Yorkers cast in 2008. Obama won the state by a margin of 3 to 2 in that year. The latest Marist poll has Obama leading Romney by 26 percent this time. That means that if every single Wall Streeter cast his vote in favor of Romney, Obama would still win the state's popular vote and, with it, its electoral vote.
Even if you moved every single person in the securities industry to New York in order to vote, they couldn't move the needle enough to prevent an Obama win. (Read more: Key Issues: Where the Candidates Stand on Taxes)
Similar math applies in Connecticut and New Jersey.
Wall Street cannot swing the election with its votes.
This doesn't stop Wall Street from voting, however. Although this is only anecdotal evidence, my conversations with Wall Street guys and gals reveal a high level of voting. So their irrelevance isn't deterring them.
What might be deterring Wall Street from voting, however, are delays. According to Reuters, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein left his polling place on Manhattan's Upper West Side before he got to vote because of delays caused by malfunctioning scanners.