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In election 2012, a tale of two New York zip codes

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Jeremy Hobson: Well here in this country, there will be presidential primaries tomorrow in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. Not a lot of political suspense, so let’s get to our ongoing coverage of what really matters in this election: The Real Economy.

Marketplace’s David Gura visited two zip codes in Manhattan separated by Central Park. And according to the latest campaign fundraising reports, they’ve donated the most money of any two neighborhoods in the country — just to opposite candidates.

David Gura: Jeff Gural is a real estate executive who has been on the Upper West Side for more than 20 years now.

Jeff Gural: We got the Park, and you’ve got shopping on Columbus, Amsterdam, Broadway. It’s near Zabar’s. Terrific place to live.

Gural is a millionaire who could live anywhere in Manhattan, and he’s picked The Eldorado, on Central Park West.

Gural: You know, you can go to any restaurant without getting dressed up, which is important for me, because I like to be casual. If you live on the East Side, you have to put a jacket and tie on to go to a restaurant.

Breakfast is at the Popover Café, just six blocks away. Gural orders a couple of fried eggs, a glass of apple juice, and he tells me that the Upper West Side is a comfortable place for Democrats like him. And the stats back that up. So far, Gural and his neighbors in zip code 10024 have donated more than $500,000 to President Obama’s reelection campaign. That’s more than any other zip code in the U.S.

Gural: People have to get elected, and it costs money to run TV commercials, and that’s the system.

And New York City is an important part of that system. The campaigns mine the corporate sector for cash. Another day, another diner, and another donor.

I’m at Nectar Restaurant, on the Upper East Side, on Madison Avenue, with Andy Busser. He is an investor with an apartment in zip code 10021. That’s a mile away from Jeff Gural’s place, as the crow flies, and it’s a part of Manhattan that’s home to a lot of…

Andy Busser: …lawyers. I mean, it’s a lot of people in financial services, I think.

Busser and his neighbors have given more than $500,000 to Mitt Romney’s campaign. 

Busser: There’s a lot of money in this zip code. I mean, it’s a wealthy zip code.

With a lot of well-heeled executives who have backed the presumptive Republican nominee.

Busser: It doesn’t surprise me that there are more Romney supporters here than perhaps on the Upper West Side.

Both candidates are counting on more donations from these two neighborhoods, so this war for campaign contributions, being waged on opposite sides of Central Park’s Great Lawn, has just begun.

In New York, I’m David Gura for Marketplace.

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