Despite stock market fluctuations, one in two Americans (50%) belong to the growing "investor class," according to an IBD/TIPP analysis of more than 4,500 respondents to recent polls. Republicans have the biggest share of the investor class at 58%, followed by 52% of independents and 48% of Democrats.
To qualify as a member of the investor class for our analysis, a household must currently have at least $10,000 invested in the stock market in individual stocks or mutual funds, held directly or through a retirement plan such as a 401(k).
The party affiliation of investors is 32% Democrats, 32% Republicans and 35% independents.
A large segment (44%) of investors consider themselves conservatives, giving themselves a rating between 7 and 10 on a 10-point ideology scale with 1 being "very liberal" and 10 "very conservative." Thirty-one percent describe themselves as moderates (5 and 6) and 24% liberal (1 to 4). The average rating was 6.05.
Investors see President Obama as liberal. More than two-thirds (69%) describe the president as liberal, 18% as moderate, 10% as conservative. The average rating for Obama was 3.39.
The average gap among investors was 2.7 points, compared with only 1.8 points for non-investors.
When IBD/TIPP compared each respondent's ideology rating with his or her ideology rating for Obama, 64% are right of Obama, 20% left of Obama and 13% at the same rating as Obama. Contrast with non-investors, among whom 51% are right of Obama, 24% are left of Obama and 17% at the same rating as the president.
Investors are somewhat skeptical of Obama's policies. Take the recently passed health care bill. This month, a majority (53%) of investors oppose the bill rather than support it (40%). The intensity of opposition is also high, with 40% saying they oppose "strongly."
Investors have also consistently expressed their dissatisfaction with the federal government's economic policies. Investor-class readings on our federal policies index (39.2 on average) have been consistently below non-investor-class readings (42.7) for the past six months.
Some 46% of investors said the country is evolving into a socialist state, compared with only 33% of non-investors who think so. An overwhelming 70% of investors said it is not the government's role to redistribute wealth and income, compared with 49% of non-investors. And a similar share (65%) opposes government controlling or owning key industries such as health care and energy.
President Bush owed his success in presidential elections to the investor class. In the financial crisis of 2008, however, Republican presidential candidate John McCain could not fully benefit from the traditional advantage GOP candidates have traditionally enjoyed with investors.
President Obama's policies may be moving this important voting bloc back toward the GOP. Investors in our latest poll prefer Republicans' gaining control of Congress to Democrats' retaining control in November by 52% to 36%. Non-investors prefer Democrats' retaining control of Congress by 46% to 34%.
• Mayur is president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which directs the IBD/TIPP Poll that was the most accurate in the last two presidential elections.