Image: Wall Street sign © Corbis, SuperStock

When it comes to U.S. presidential politics, lose Wall Street and you've lost the election.

Goodbye, Mitt.

It's over.

I know, I know. Many of you are going to call me liberal patsy, a mouthpiece for President Barack Obama. You're going to say I'm in the tank, a Democratic hack. Blah, blah, blah.

Whatever. You can disagree with me, but you can't argue with facts, and you can't dispute history. If it were the other way around, I'd call it as such.

The fact is, Romney is behind.

And history shows that, as a presidential election nears, Wall Street -- represented by the securities, banking, insurance and real-estate industries -- tends to go with a winner.

This doesn't mean that Romney, who made his career in private equity at Bain Capital, and Paul Ryan, who once championed turning a portion of our Social Security taxes over to personal investment accounts, aren't more ideologically in line with the financial industry. They are.

It doesn't mean that investors who support fiscally conservative principles have abandoned Romney in favor of Obama. They haven't.

What it does mean is that Romney continues to trail in key races. He's behind by at least five points in the critical swing states of Ohio, Florida and Virginia, according to a new round of polls. Wall Street wants to hedge its bets, buy some influence and be on the winning side. So, it has to make a choice: Support the loser or the winner.

Wall Street always goes with a winner.

It happened in 1996, 2000 and 2008. Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all saw a rush in contributions just before the election, according to Federal Election Commission data.

The closest to an exception to the rule was in 2004 when Democratic nominee John Kerry started seeing an increase in contributions from Wall Street in the final few weeks before the election. The reason? A tight race with an uncertain outcome. And, even so, President Bush was still outraising Kerry 2 to 1. It had been 3 to 1.

This year is shaping up to be similar. Romney has raised $28.6 million from finance, insurance and real-estate donors. Obama has raised $12.2 million through Aug. 21. But there's a lot of chatter about how the gap has narrowed since then.

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Where Wall Street is placing its bets

Until now, Romney has been bankrolled by Wall Street. His top five contributors are people and organizations aligned with Goldman Sachs (GS), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Morgan Stanley (MS), Bank of America (BAC) and Credit Suisse (CS), according to OpenSecrets.org.

But Obama has the momentum. The president raised $114 million in August, more than 40% more than he raised in July. Romney raised $111 million, about the same as he's raised each month this summer.

There are other signs that Wall Street is betting Obama now. LPL Financial's Wall Street Election index, which measures the stock performance of so-called Democrat- and Republican-friendly industries has swung strongly to the Democrats since June.

Intrade, a futures market set up for bettors looking to cash in on such probabilities, has Obama as a 67.8% favorite to reclaim the White House. Obama has seen a nearly 10-point gain since mid-June.

In a perhaps not-so-unrelated bit of news, Intrade predicts the year-end chances of the U.S. entering a recession at 7.35%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ($DJIA) finishing about 13,000 at 75.8% and a country dropping out of the euro zone at 16.3% -- all of which are highs or close to highs for the year.

Separately, an unscientific CNBC poll of Wall Street pros published Sept. 12 gave Obama a nearly 2-to-1 chance of winning.

They're also reflective of something Huffington Post columnist (and former Wall Street Journal reporter) Mark Gongloff wrote Sept. 14: "It's called hedging your bets. It indicates that although Wall Street might grumble about an Obama victory, it also apparently doesn't expect all commerce to halt and all private industry to be immediately nationalized by the government upon the president's re-inauguration."

Moreover, Obama has been better to Wall Street than either would care to admit: low interest rates, expanded bailouts, monetary easing, watered-down regulations and a lack of prosecution for crisis-era misdeeds.

Would Romney be even kinder? Probably.

Will he win? I know where you can get great odds if you think so.

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