If there is any post that would ever cost me readers, unfortunately it's probably this one. For the record, I am a 25 year old male who is registered in Arizona as a Republican. I consider myself a moderate Republican, and you can expect my views as expressed in this post to be filtered through that lens.
There's a dirty little secret in the tech industry. For having such a wide spectrum of ideas when it comes to building cool technologies, and for the diversity of individuals in the technology field, there is not so much diversity of thought when it comes to politics in technology. It's a well-known but little-discussed fact that most people in the tech sector consider themselves Democrats.
At no time in my life was that fact ever more apparent then after reading the always thought-provoking Todd Bishop's post on tech employee donations to the 2008 Presidential candidates. Todd's article focused mostly on how Microsoft shaped up with the rest of the major tech companies, and didn't break anything down by political party. We all know how I love crunching numbers in different ways, so I took the data from Todd's crack analyst and started playing around with it.
The data that resulted was quite interesting, to say the least. I don't know if any conclusions can be drawn right now, because of the fact that it's still too dang early in the process, and there are wise people out there who are waiting for the field to narrow before donating their money. Personally, I think it's insanely ridiculous to be doing this election crap so early. Many of these people are already elected officials, and they should be taking the next year and do what they were elected to do. I didn't realize New York State elected Hillary Clinton last year for the sole purpose of enabling her presidential campaign.
But that's beside the point. So anyway, the first thing I did was to divide the candidates up by political party. To do this, I used the 2008 election page on Wikipedia. Then, I had to redo the table to allow a more direct comparison of what each company's employees gave to each candidate, and total up the contributions for each candidate. That would give a representation of who these companies think should lead the country. I then reordered the candidates by amount contributed, with the winner on top.
The results are very interesting, but not really surprising. If the election were based on money raised as of today, Hillary Clinton would beat Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. She'd also beat out Republican candidate Mitt Romney for the Presidency.
I purposely left out the totals from the first chart, so that I could make a much more straightforward comparison below. Using the reorganized data above, I wanted to get a clear picture of how much each company's employees gave to each party, and see the difference in spending for each company. The results may or may not surprise you.
The it's still too early in the game to draw concrete conclusions, but here's the patterns I see thus far. As Todd already determined, Google's employees are by far the most politically active, with Microsoft coming in a relatively close second, and IBM in third. Microsoft had by far the most people contribute to the Republican party, but there was still an enormous relative gap in spending between the two parties over at everyone's favorite Collective.
What really shocked me was the gap in spending between the political parties at Google and Yahoo. Yahoo didn't have a single soul contribute to the Republican party, which means that right-leaning employees either smart to wait it out, or they simply don't exist. Only time will tell which one it is.
Almost as shocking was the fact that the Republicans are currently winning at both Apple and Adobe. I don't think you can draw any conclusions from that yet, though. One contributor could easily turn the tides at both companies, and it seems that employees on both sides of the ideological fence are waiting for the process to separate the wheat from the chaff (although that colorful phrase suggests there are amazing candiates in the field, a view which I don't share as of yet).
As I said, it's too early to come to absolute conclusions, especially when you take into account that there are only 8 companies in this table. But whatever your political leaning, you have to admit that at face value, it's hard to deny that there is an ideological gulf in the Tech sector when the Dems have been given 6X more money by employees in the sector than Republicans. It's just too bad that there isn't more diversity of political views in our tech workplaces.
I'll be following this data over the next 18 months to see the trends that emerge as more employees start investing in their candidates of choice. Will the Democratic Domination continue? Probably. Tech jobs still usually require a higher level of education, and there is growing evidence that many of today's educational institutions are left-leaning. The open source movement stems from ideas that live on the left side of the ideological spectrum, and Open Source is definitely not going away either. It will be very interesting to see the trends after the election is over next year. Hopefully the conclusions then will be different. Because different viewpoints are good, right?
You can go ahead and flame me now.