Can you predict how someone will vote based on what chain restaurants they prefer? What fast food chain they fancy? The kind of supermarket they go to?
Yes, yes, and yes.
In discussing Washington gridlock on his CNN show recently, Michael Smerconish pointed to the “two Americas” that exist, with a twist. He broke down the two Americas as “Cracker Barrel vs. Whole Foods.” explaining that counties with more Whole Foods than Cracker Barrels tended to vote for Hillary Clinton, on average, while those with the reverse tended to vote for Donald Trump.
According to the research of prior elections, “in 2008, candidate Barack Obama carried 81 percent of counties with a Whole Foods and just 36 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel — a record 45-point gap. In 2000, Vice President Al Gore won 58 percent of counties now containing a Whole Foods and 26 percent of those now boasting a Cracker Barrel, a 32-point difference. And in 1992, Gov. Bill Clinton won 60 percent of Whole Foods counties and 40 percent of Cracker Barrel counties — a mere 20-point margin.”
And those are hardly the only two institutions that have a partisan audience for their non-partisan product. Below are the results from a 2014 Wall Street Journal survey, that ranked fast food joints, restaurant chains, and supermarkets based on their customers’ political preferences. On the survey, a score of “100” would indicate that there’s an even partisan split among customers. An “80” would mean that a place is 20 percent less conservative/liberal than average, while a “120” would indicate that customers are 20 percent more conservative/liberal than average.
Most conservative and liberal chain restaurants:
Most conservative and liberal fast food joints:
Most conservative and liberal supermarkets:
Is this true in your experience? Surprisingly, my preferences came out on the liberal side (as someone who shops at Trader Joe’s, prefers Chipotle, Macaroni Grill, and PF Chang’s).
I have yet to see someone sporting a Trump hat in any of those locations.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]