Hire Wire Jul 27 2012

iPhone Apps Are for Democrats

By Joseph Walker

While both sides of the same-sex marriage debate have recently turned eating fried chicken sandwiches into a political act, some recent numbers suggest you can also tell your political affiliation by the technology brands you use.

Since the presidential election kicked off in 2011, the president's official campaign arm, Obama for America, has spent $353,000 on Apple products according to official spending reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That's enough to buy 1,780 new iPhones or 176 new MacBook Air laptops.

The Romney campaign has been far more conservative in its Apple Store shopping binges, spending 72% less than Obama's staff has over the same period, about $99,000.

Smartphones have become all the rage since the 2008 election, but, so far, neither campaign has invested much in mobile advertising, says Paran Johar, chief marketing officer of Jumptap, a Cambridge, Mass.-based mobile ad selling network that placed mobile ads for the Romney campaign during the primaries. A spokesperson for Obama campaign declined to discuss its digital media advertising strategy. The Romney campaign didn't respond to an emailed request for comment.

If and when the campaigns get hip to mobile, they'll find that political affiliation plays a part in who is using which kind of phone. Google's Android smartphone operating system has more users than the iPhone in the U.S., but people who live in Democratic-leaning states are far more likely to utilize iPhone apps than voters in Republican states, according to Localytics, a mobile analytics start-up.

Overall, the tech community seems to be firmly in favor of re-electing Obama when it comes to opening up their wallets, according to contributor filings. Obama has raised $950,000 from the Big Five tech giants, compared to Romney's $123,040. Apple employees seem to favor President Obama by a margin of 15 to 1. Campaign contributions from donors identifying themselves as Apple employees total $121,305, compared to the $8,175 donated to Romney.

Microsoft employees have given the Obama campaign a total of $424,200, five times more than the $85,300 they have given to Romney. Googlers have given $324,000 to President Obama's campaign so far, compared to just $6,600 for the Romney campaign.

Facebook employees have donated $47,700 to the Obama campaign, and just $7,850 to Romney. Amazon employees donated $32,290 for Obama compared to $15,000 for Romney -- sums far lower than the $2.5 million Chief Executive Jeff Bezos recently donated to support gay marriage legislation in Washington state.

Write to Joseph Walker at Joseph.Walker@dowjones.com

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