NY divide: West Side for Barack Obama, East backs Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign stop at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mobile, Alabama.

Manhattan’s Upper West Side is blue, while the Upper East leans red, but either way, New York City is bankrolling both President Barack Obama’s and Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s campaigns.
Three ZIP codes on the East Side of Manhattan are among the most lucrative locations for Romney to raise campaign cash. And three ZIP codes on the west side are ranked as the top areas where Obama has collected money, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group that tracks campaign donations.

Obama has raised $1.7 million from three ZIP codes along the Hudson River, 10024, 10023 and 10011. Romney, meanwhile, brought in $1.5 million from ZIP codes 10021, 10128 and 10065 along the East River.

“There are many more rich individuals on the East Side than on the West Side,” former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo said.

Many of those donating to Romney work on Wall Street and are attracted to his background as a founder of the Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital LLC, said Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island.

“A lot of the big-money people are, or will be, supporting Romney,” he said.

Besides those in New York, residents of Palm Beach, Florida, and Greenwich, Connecticut, are among Romney’s most generous contributors. Obama’s most financially fertile non-New York ZIP codes include 90210 in Beverly Hills, Calif., plus areas of Chicago and Washington, D.C.

New York’s East Side had traditionally been home to wealthy Republicans, while the West Side wasn’t as well-to-do and would back Democrats, said Alan Chartock, a professor of political communication at the State University of New York in Albany. “While the city has become more Democratic, some of that balance still exists,” Chartock said.

Still, those Republicans in New York are less likely to be as motivated as their southern counterparts by such issues as opposition to abortion and gay marriage than they are by financial matters, say political watchers.

“You still have the same old-line Republican money,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat who represents Manhattan’s West Side. “If Mitt Romney lived in Manhattan, he’d probably live on the East Side.”


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