Employees of Silicon Valley tech companies are reaching into their pockets and donating to presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — despite both senators pushing to regulate the tech industry and repeatedly criticizing individual tech giants.
According to Yahoo Finance analysis of donations made in 2019, Sanders is the most popular candidate among employees of the FAANG companies – Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google – and Microsoft. Not far behind him is Sen. Warren, who, based on the number of donations made, is the second favorite.
Yahoo Finance analyzed Federal Election Commission data, specifically donations of employees from the FAANG companies and Microsoft, noting how many donations employees made to Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker, as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Yahoo Finance also examined donations to the presumptive Republican nominee, President Donald Trump.
Out of 4,418 donations made to all 8 candidates, just under a third went to Sanders, while just over 20% went to Warren.
Sen. Cory Booker fared the worst among the candidates, only netting 1.4% of all the donations made by FAANG and Microsoft employees. Biden didn’t fare much better, pulling in only 1.72% of all donations made this year from those employees.
Of the six companies surveyed, Google employees made the most donations, with over 1,500 contributions given to the 8 candidates analyzed. (It's worth noting that Google, with around 100,000 employees, is only larger in size than Facebook and Netflix; Amazon has more than 600,000 employees.) Sanders scored roughly a third of all donations from Google employees with Warren pulling in more than a quarter. Biden did the worst, pulling in less than 1% of total donations from Google workers. Only 12 contributions were given to the Biden camp.
Warren is well-known for proposing to break up big technology companies – including Facebook, Google and Amazon – and has said the tech behemoths have hampered innovation and competition. Other Democratic candidates have expressed support for reining in corporate consolidation, but haven’t come out as hard against what Warren deems to be monopolies.
Running low on cash
Both Biden and Booker have been struggling with their fundraising totals of late, with Booker’s camp pleading for donations or face ending his race. Booker ended up posting his best quarter in Q3, raking in $6 million. Biden fared much better than Booker in Q3, pulling in over $15 million. But concerns abound for the former VP. He only has $9 million cash on hand, far lower than his Democratic rivals Sanders and Warren.
Despite blowing away Democrats with his fundraising total in the third quarter, Trump isn’t faring as well among employees of FAANG companies. The president only received 7.5% of all donations contributed by FAANG and Microsoft (MSFT) employees. But despite Trump’s frequent criticism of Amazon (AMZN) founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, he was the third most popular candidate based on number of donations from Amazon employees. Nearly 14% of all donations went to the Trump camp.
California Sen. Kamala Harris did the best among Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) employees, raking in 15% and 18%, respectively, of all donations made by employees at those two companies. Buttigieg was a Netflix (NFLX) favorite, snagging a third of donations made by employees there. In contrast, Sanders brought in 7% of total donations by Netflix workers.
Surprisingly, workers at these tech companies were not members of the so-called Yang Gang. The entrepreneur and businessman candidate lagged far behind most of the other Democratic candidates analyzed, and only pulled in half the employee donations of Trump. Some 3.5% of the total donations made were earmarked for Yang.
Many of the donations analyzed were small sums, a common trend, particularly among Democratic donors. The online fundraising platform ActBlue announced that in Q3, small-dollar donors gave nearly $300 million to Democratic candidates. The platform also announced grassroots donors were on track to donate $3 billion to Democrats by the end of the 2020 election cycle, setting up the general election to be the most expensive to date.
Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.