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According to a recent poll by Rasmussen, in the 11 swing states Romney now leads President Obama by a slim 49% to 47% margin. Collectively, these states hold 146 Electoral College votes, or enough to determine the outcome.
Yet with two more debates still left on the slate, the truth is the fortunes of both candidates will likely swing back and forth right up to the wire.
With 27 days until voters head to the polls it's shaping up to be a photo finish.
For investors, that means next month should be volatile as traders attempt to guess the outcome.
However, the long-term results are what's really important, not only for the "big picture" economy, but for particular companies and sectors that can be expected to benefit from either an Obama win or a Romney win.
After all, there are considerable differences between the two candidates' policy prescriptions.
And as long-term dividend stock investors it is going to be crucial that we take advantage of these differences, repositioning our portfolio when we know the election result so we can optimize its performance through the new administration.
With the race still in doubt, here are 10 dividend stock suggestions from the Standard and Poor's 500 Index -- five for each candidate. The selections for each candidate can be expected to do better if he wins, and should therefore be bought when the election result is known --or perhaps before the election as a hedge against your least favorite candidate winning!
If Obama Wins Election 2012, Buy These Dividend Stocks
The following stocks should benefit should President Obama win re-election:
- H&R Block (NYSE: HRB). If President Obama wins election 2012, it seems almost certain that taxes will rise, at least for those with incomes above $250,000 and probably for many people poorer than that. In addition, there's likely to be a mass reshuffling of allowances and tax rates, changing the best tax strategies for everyone with any complexity at all in their tax returns.
This has to be good news for tax preparers, the largest of which is HRB, both directly through their network of offices and indirectly through their TaxCut tax software. HRB has a dividend yield of 4.5%, and a historic dividend payout ratio of 60%.
- Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF). If Obama wins, Ben Bernanke is likely to stay in office as Fed chairman, and be replaced by a like-minded successor when his term of office ends in January 2014. That means interest rates should stay low -- good news for commodity stocks like CLF, an iron ore and coal producer. CLF has been generous on the dividend front, and now pays $2.50 per share, giving it a yield of 6.3%. Its historic payout ratio is about 25%, but that will increase as 2012 has been a tough year.