Democrats have a huge fundraising advantage across Silicon Valley but an astronomical edge among Netflix and Apple employees

  • The top tech companies are giving Democrats almost three times as much money as Republicans, but the gap is much wider at Netflix and Apple.
  • Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has long been a big supporter of Democrats.
  • Apple's Tim Cook has been critical of President Trump's policies on trade and immigration.

Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc.
Akio Kon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Reed Hastings, chief executive officer of Netflix Inc.

Across the technology landscape, Democrats have a huge fundraising advantage in the midterm elections when it comes to where employees are putting their money. But the edge over Republicans is particularly striking at two Silicon Valley companies: Netflix and Apple.

As of the end of September, Netflix employees had contributed $190,592 to Democrats this cycle, compared with just $1,350 to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's a ratio of 141-to-1. The ratio at Apple is 27-to-1, with Democrats receiving $737,003 versus $27,005 for Republicans.

Among the 15 most valuable U.S. tech companies, 10 of which are based in the Bay Area, employees have sent $9.1 million to Democrats and $3.2 million to Republicans — a ratio of 2.8-to-1, according to CRP data. The figures include individual donations to candidates, which max out at $2,700 per candidate, and exclude much larger contributions to political action committees and party groups.

Click to edit
Apple $737,003 $27,005 27 / 1
Amazon $1,165,410 $688,198 1.7 / 1
Google $2,622,388 $578,711 4.5 / 1
Microsoft $1,218,743 $470,028 2.6 / 1
Facebook $878,951 $228,400 3.8 / 1
Cisco $383,971 $194,563 2 / 1
Intel $517,441 $414,831 1.2 / 1
Oracle $376,742 $297,813 1.3 / 1
Netflix $190,592 $1,350 141 / 1
Nvidia $36,229 $4,300 8.4 / 1
IBM $296,100 $40,476 7.3 / 1
Salesforce $272,999 $47,061 5.8 / 1
PayPal $89,131 $54,000 1.7 / 1
Qualcomm $173,186 $88,801 2 / 1
Texas Instruments $90,859 $91,789 1 / 1
Total $9,049,745 $3,227,326 2.8 / 1
Center for Responsive Politics

At Netflix, the Democratic slant starts at the top. Co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings has contributed to several Democratic candidates, including Rep. Ro Khanna, who represents a good chunk of Silicon Valley, and Sen. Tim Kaine, who is trying to defend his seat in Virginia.

Hastings has long been a major donor to Democrats and earlier this year contributed $500,000 to the Senate Majority PAC, which says on its website that it "was founded by experienced, aggressive Democratic strategists with one mission: To win Senate races."

In addition to his role at Netflix, Hastings sits on the Facebook board alongside Peter Thiel, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump. Hastings reportedly told Thiel in an email during the 2016 presidential campaign that he had exercised "catastrophically bad judgment" in backing Trump.

Hastings declined to comment for this story.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is not a big spender in the political realm. His only contribution for the midterms was to Rep. Zoe Lofgren, whose California district covers part of the South Bay. But Cook, who was among tech executives to meet with Trump after the 2016 election, has been critical of the president's trade war, telling investors in July that the tariffs are a "tax on the consumer and end up resulting in lower economic growth."

He's also slammed Trump's protectionist views on immigration and called the administration's detention of children at the border "inhumane."

President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, listens during the American Technology Council roundtable hosted at the White House in Washington, D.C.
Zach Gibson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Donald Trump, right, speaks as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, listens during the American Technology Council roundtable hosted at the White House in Washington, D.C.

Apple employees have been sending plenty of money toward the border. The top recipient of cash from Apple workers is Beto O'Rourke, who's running to unseat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.

Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

While Netflix and Apple have the biggest disparities in terms of contributions to each party, there are other companies where the absolute dollar amount flowing to Democratic candidates is higher. At Google, employees have contributed $2.6 million to Democrats, more than four times the amount they've donated to Republicans, and workers at Microsoft have sent $1.2 million to Democrats and less than half that amount to Republicans.

Of the top 15 tech companies by market cap, only Texas Instrumentshas seen its employees favor Republicans, and by a very slim margin — $91,789 to $90,859.