- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 5, 2000

Vice President Al Gore's bid to win the presidency by taking credit for economic prosperity while castigating those who have prospered has found unenthusiastic buyers in the emerging investor class.

A recently released American Shareholders Association/Zogby poll of more than 2,500 registered voters across the country demonstrates that as individuals invest in the stock market, they also tend to become more interested in investing their votes in Republican candidates.

According to the survey, more than 42 percent of the investors (self-identified members of the investor class who own stocks) consider themselves Republicans, while only 32.4 percent consider themselves Democrats; 53 percent of investors favor Mr. Bush over Mr. Gore in a two-way race and 46.7 percent of them prefer to send Republicans to Congress.

Investors also favor specific Republican initiatives, supporting school vouchers and opposing corporate taxes by large margins over non-investors. Investors also support personal retirement accounts for Social Security payroll taxes by a 2-to-1 margin over their non-investing counterparts.

This was confirmed by a 1999 Rasmussen survey which found that individuals who owned more than $5,000 worth of stocks, bonds and mutual funds favored capital gains tax cuts by large margins.

In fact, likely voters between the ages of 18 and 29 favor Mr. Bush over Mr. Gore by a 10 percent margin according to a recent Gallup/USA Today/ CNN tracking poll which is not surprising, considering that 12 percent of these voters are also investors according to the Zogby survey.

Moreover, the investor class is continuing to grow and expand: In 1983, only 19 percent of households owned stock, while in 1992, 36.6 percent of households owned shares in the stock market, and in 1999, nearly 50 percent of households, accounting for nearly 80 million individuals, owned stock.

Although they have dreams of going to the head of the investor class, nearly half of investors earn less than $50,000 each year. Far from being self-involved and greedy, 70 percent of those surveyed by Zogby claim to be active in their communities, and two-thirds of them are active at a place of worship.

All of this comes as bad news for Mr. Gore, who has pursued class-warfare with zeal and determination. While he may be hoping for Hillary-like returns on his investments in a more progressive future, it seems far more likely that in the marketplace of the voting booth, investors will be more bullish on Mr. Bush.

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