“I am sure, if we are really nice and stay quiet, everything will be alright and the president will become more centrist and that all his tough talk is just words,” Mr. Loeb wrote in an email about four months ago expressing frustration with the president’s posture toward Wall Street. “I mean, he really loves us and when he beats us, he doesn’t mean it.” The email, sent to eight friends, was widely circulated on Wall Street.

Mr. Loeb is part of a shift in political allegiance within the world of hedge funds that also includes such big names as Steven Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors and Kenneth Griffin’s Citadel Investment Group. Managers and employees of hedge funds directed a majority of their contributions to the GOP in the 2009-2010 election season, a pattern not seen since 1996, when the industry was much smaller…

Mr. Obama blew away the field in presidential fund-raising in 2008, setting a record by collecting $750 million in contributions, with most of the donations small ones. Some political strategists speculate he could top $1 billion for his re-election bid.

The defection by some hedge-fund managers is among forces that could make that lofty figure hard to attain. Mr. Obama has also disheartened some labor unions, environmentalists and liberal activists by not moving as aggressively as they would like on their priorities. For the 2012 presidential race, it is too early to gauge with any precision how he or potential GOP candidates are doing in fund-raising.