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October 13, 2006
How will investors affect the midterm congressional elections on November 7? (That was the cogent question asked of me by Lawrence Kudlow when I appeared on yesterday afternoon's edition of CNBC's Kudlow & Company.) To even begin to tackle the issue beyond a sound bite, you first have to understand what the "investor class" is. Slightly more than half of all U.S. households own stock, either directly or through retirement accounts such as 401(k)'s and IRAs, according to the Investment Company Institute. In the early 1990s, that fraction was only about a third. And in the early 1980s, just a fifth of all households invested in stocks. During the 2004 presidential election, about 46 percent of investors, according to polling by Zogby International, identified themselves as members of the investor class. And this group voted for President Bush in a landslide over Sen. John Kerry, 61 percent to 39 percent.