Republicans and Democrats may not agree on much, but when it comes to investing, their stock bets are lining up.
Both Republican and Democratic millionaires are heavily favoring financial stocks, and they are also in agreement on where to take profits: in significant numbers millionaires of both political stripes have reduced exposure to the technology sector.
Thirty-two percent of millionaire investing dollars are currently in financial stocks, according to the CNBC Millionaire Survey conducted in March, up from 21 percent the last time CNBC surveyed millionaires in October 2014.
Millionaires have reduced exposure to technology stocks from 21 percent of their investment portfolios to 13 percent, according to the survey, conducted by Spectrem Group for CNBC.
“I don’t think political leanings have a lot to do with how people invest. People invest based on their wallet,” said Tom Wynn, director of affluent research at Spectrem Group, which conducted the study for CNBC. “As the economy grows, banks and financials are more busy.”
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Based on historical patterns, the early period of a rising interest-rate era is also supposed to favor bank stocks.
Bullishness among millionaires for financials is expected to continue: 23 percent of those surveyed said financials will see the greatest amount of their investing dollars in 2015, up from 14 percent in the October survey. Among the $5-million-plus investors, that rises to 27 percent. Technology is expected to decline from 19 percent of future investments to 14 percent—and only 8 percent for the $5-million-plus crowd.
The results revealing the divide between financials and tech suggest that millionaire investors are more value- than growth-oriented right now.
Wynn said that affluent investors tend to favor financials when they have confidence in the U.S. economy’s outlook. Forty-nine percent of millionaires surveyed expect the economy to be “stronger” by year-end 2015, compared to 42 percent in the fall survey, with 2 percent of millionaires expecting the economy to be “much stronger.” No millionaires expressed that level of economic confidence in the October survey.
Where Elizabeth Warren is a nonfactor
There is a notable difference in the level of bullishness Democrats and Republicans are showing for financials. Elizabeth Warren may rail against Wall Street, but by and large, Democratic millionaires love their financial stocks—even more than Republicans.
Currently, Democratic millionaires have 36 percent of the investing dollars in financials. It’s only 26 percent for Republican millionaires, though still the No. 1 sector for the GOP affluent.
Democratic millionaires expect to allocate 31 percent of their investing dollars to financials in 2015. For Republicans, it’s only 16 percent and only slightly ahead of the 15 percent Republican millionaires are earmarking for tech stocks over the remainder of 2015.
Wynn said one reason why Democrats might be making heavier bets on financials is that they espouse greater overall confidence in the economy. Sixty-three percent of Democratic millionaires expect the economy to end the year stronger, while only 34 percent of Republicans expressed that view.
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One more thing Republicans and Democrats agree on: that the biggest risk to the economy is government dysfunction. Thirty-six percent of Democrats and 39 percent of Republicans cited government dysfunction as the biggest risk to the economy over the next 12 months.