The biggest source of presidential campaign cash over the summer might come as something of a surprise -- retirees.
Retired individuals gave at least $9.2 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 -- more than donations from lawyers and from the investment industry, which had been the biggest givers during the first six months of the year, a watchdog group reported this afternoon.
For the entire year so far, retirees have given about $27 million, compared to $39 million for lawyers and $24 million for the investment industry, said the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics
While lawyers and investors are favoring Democrats in their largesse, retirees are more bipartisan, giving 51 percent to Democratic candidates and 49 percent to Republicans, the center said.
Democrat Barack Obama is the leading recipient so far this year with at least $5.1 million, Democrat Hillary Clinton is second with about $4.4 million, and Republican Mitt Romney is third with $3.8 million, according to the center's study.
"Retirees are not only a powerful voting bloc, they're also very generous campaign contributors election after election," center executive director Sheila Krumholz said in a statement. "These aren't your average pensioners, however. Many are retired corporate executives or financially independent individuals well below age 65."