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How You Eat Determines How You Vote

Is Your Pantry Partisan? Having Our Vote and Eating It Too?

In a tight race, political advisers have to stop at nothing to figure out how voters are thinking — all the way down to scrutinizing what's in their shopping carts. By looking closely at consumer behavior, including how people eat, savvy advisers are seeing a way to scavenge for votes. In the voting biz it's called microtargeting (hello Soccer Moms!) and it's as much political discipline as cute concept.

In the Coke-vs-Pepsi United States, the brands we buy and how we spend our free time can be a pretty good predictor of our politics. So the same way you get a mailbox full of targeted catalogs, people can figure out your votes based on shopping habits.

Although advisers still consider gender, religion, and other big categories most useful, info about eating, travel, and hobbies provide a good second-tier crystal ball into the mind of the voter. Clintonite Mark Penn wrote a book all about this practice of microtargeting — and said about Obama in an email just last week, “He has more of the arugula vote.” Are you an arugula or an iceberg vote? To see which parties eat what,


  • Pepsi-Cola and Sprite are Democratic sodas.
  • Dr Pepper is a Republican soda.
  • Most clear liquors, like gin and vodka are Democratic hooch.
  • Brown liquors like bourbon or scotch are Republican.
  • White wine and Evian water are Democratic.
  • Red wine and Fiji water are Republican.
  • Democrats prefer Popeye's chicken.
  • Republicans eat Chick-Fil-A.

Though the chicken-and-beer info is useful, it's how you use the platter that matters. The managing director of American Environics says,

“Knowing that your base drinks gin doesn’t give you a clear idea on how to communicate with them effectively on issues. But if you take it a level deeper and say, are there psychological drivers that will help understand the values behind the behavior, you can speak to those values and persuade voters.”

Do your ballot and your pantry match? Are you a Dr Pepper Republican? Do you think this in an accurate way to predict votes or just a bunch of leftovers?


Join The Conversation
jessy777 jessy777 9 years
Except for my dislike of bourbon and scotch I am a pantry Republican. That does not match my ballot and seems kind of silly.
Bookish Bookish 9 years
Let's see... Pepsi, red wine, vegetarian... Does that make me an Independent?
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
I say "bleh" upon both those chicken places...FAR too greasy! And SugarCat, I agree with you. I simply cannot wait for this election to be over! If I hear one more obama commercial on the radio, I swear :RANT:
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
I don't think this is the be-all and end-all of how someone will vote, but I do think it's interesting to look at in terms of tendencies. Even though these tendencies don't seem to fit everyone on this site, there must be some sort of truth behind them. I don't think the authors of the study were trying to say, "Everyone who is a Democrat likes white wine," or "Everyone who is a Republican likes Dr. Pepper." I think they were just looking at trends, which is all market research can do. Giving one, or even 20 examples of people you know who don't fit the research perfectly doesn't completely negate the study. Anyway, I guess I'm trying to say that's it interesting, even if not necessarily useful. As for me, I'm a Republican and enjoy Dr. Pepper and Diet Coke, especially fountain pop! I trend to drink clear liquors but enjoy a good Scotch on a rare occasion. I like both red and white wine. I'm not a huge drinker of bottled water, but when I do drink it, I usually get whatever is cheapest. And I LOVE Chick Fil-A. I don't understand people who don't like it!
melizzle melizzle 9 years
This fits me. :)
Berlin Berlin 9 years
that's just stupid...I'm a strong democrat, and love my Diet Mt. Dew and Chick-fil-a, so eat that! :)
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
Oh boy, this was the perfect day to decide that I was going to stop paying attention to all things politics. :p
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Cabaker, i agree. some of these are defintely regional. i went to college in the mountains of Virginia and ate Chick-Fil-A ALL THE TIME and loved it but when i went home to DC, it was all Popeyes but that's cuz Popeyes is up my street! all the other ones are just dumb. i can't remember the last time i drank Evian. Give me Fiji anyday! I hate white wine and love me some red. They were right one the preference for vodka though! ;)
AnnieMarie AnnieMarie 9 years
I don't think that peoples food and drink habits are necessarily predictive of their political tendencies, seems unreliable.
Matdredalia Matdredalia 9 years
I'm going through and replying to each "assessment" separately: * Pepsi-Cola and Sprite are Democratic sodas. - I hate Pepsi, and I vote Democrat =P I'm a Coke-a-Cola drinker. * Dr Pepper is a Republican soda. My husband would sooner blow his face off than vote for a Republican, and his favorite soda is Dr. Pepper. The same is true for my mother, my step-father, my cousin, my brother, and three of my best friends. So, this one is way off. * Most clear liquors, like gin and vodka are Democratic hooch. I don't drink at all, nor does hubby #1. However, my aunt loves Gin & Tonic, and she usually votes Republican. * Brown liquors like bourbon or scotch are Republican. Hubby #2 does brown liquor, but he's British so I don't think he counts in this one. * White wine and Evian water are Democratic. Evian water? *falls on the floor laughing* I'd rather be dead than go near it. Wine? Yuck. * Red wine and Fiji water are Republican. My grandmother drinks more wine than almost anyone I know, and the one and only time she ever voted Republican was Richard Nixon. She's voted Democrat ever since. * Democrats prefer Popeye's chicken. Family of Democrats, and not one of us has ever eaten there. * Republicans eat Chick-Fil-A. Most of my best friends are Democrats, and they, as well as I, am all about the Chick-Fil-A Mattie's Assessment of this Assessment: Bogus.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well the article suggests that the method is used as a guide and the question is asking if it's an accurate way to predict votes. I think the article answers it's own question. No, it is not an accurate way to predict votes.
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Dr. Pepper and Bourbon. mmmmmmmmmmm
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Fiji bottles are just pretty! The marketer who thought to put it in a square bottle with a pretty picture was a genius!
stephley stephley 9 years
Hmm, I'm a whiskey & coke, fiji loving liberal who wouldn't touch Popeye's on a bet. And I don't like arugala. Guess Colombia wasn't the first time Penn was wrong.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Well, that was silly. I like Dr. Pepper, whiskey, and Fiji water, but I'm voting Obama--the only thing they got right for me was the Popeye's! MMM. Popeye's.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i live in a blue city, so I've grown accustomed to eating more un-republican things. I am a soybean fanatic, and I love hummus. Also, my secret is I burn cedar incense in the house. :) I went to a yoga place one time where they had it, and it smelled so relaxing, and like outdoors! ah, I love it! So you all can go ahead and call me a new age girl. (but not a vegetarian, and I'm not Mary Moon)
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Well it is pretty right on for me, but I know what the heck chicken places those are, so I have no idea if those are correct.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I was just listening to this on wnyc
avneetks avneetks 9 years
I think it's kind of ridiculous. I am a democrat who drinks Fiji. Evian wasn't as readily available where I grew up, so I drink what was most abundant. I feel like cakebaker has a point; a lot of this is based on regional ties. Granted, I grew up in a Red state (AZ), but lived in both of the major Blue cities within it (Tempe and Tucson). There are a ton a factors that play into brand choice, so I think it's kind of a moot point on which to focus.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Hm... I do like white wine and Popeyes... But I'm a tequila/fiji water girl... hmm... I'm kind of a moderate anyway, so there you go.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
dr pepper is also a southern drink!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Popeyes is soooo good I miss it. But Chick-Fil-A is good too and I like them as a company... I wonder how much of this is geographically biased though? As in, there are more Chick-Fil-As in the South, there are more Republicans in the South, so therefore... I dunno, just wondering about the margin of error!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Oooo I LOVE Chick-Fil-A but I also LOVE Popeyes Chicken. :P
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Wow thats crazy... I love Dr. Pepper, red wine, AND Fiji water... GET OUT OF MY BRAIN!!!!
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