Food for Political Thought

After last nights heated Vice Presidential Debate, I thought it would be good to take a lighter look at politics-particularly the intersection of politics and food.

There are numerous ways of predicting the next President of the United States, be it candidates height, number of letter in their last names, the performance of the American League team in the World Series, or whether the Washington Redskins won their last home game before the election, but some of the more interesting ways of predicting the President involve food. It has been suggested that peoples eating habits can be good predictors of how they will vote, and even the restaurant make-up of a city can be a predictor, be it the sushi-to-steak house ratio or the number of Starbucks. Recently the Los Angeles Times examined the eating habits and political affiliations of American restaurant goers. The basic conclusion was that Democrats like fast food, and Republicans prefer pricier, sit-down chains.

The larger the bubble, the more people patronizing the restaurant. The further the bubble is to the right (or left), the more conservative (or liberal) the patrons, and the higher the bubble, the more politically active the voters there described themselves as being. Cracker Barrel patrons are a powerful voting block.

Daily Finance took the analysis a little further and examined the recent sales of the restaurants in comparison to the previous year. Their theory is that if a restaurant is doing well, then lots of people are visiting that restaurant, and perhaps the politics associated with that restaurant are also gaining favour. They found that restaurant chains favoured by Democrats were enjoying strong sales growth; however, each and every “Republican eatery” was enjoying at least some growth, while some “Democratic eateries” show declining numbers. This data would seem to indicate a groundswell of support for the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

Restaurants have taken advantage of the public’s interested in voting with their stomachs and have been offering candidate specific meals. California Tortilla started using red and blue tortilla chips, as well as presidential themed meals – Romney’s Mexican Loaf Bowl and Obama’s Chicken Teriyaki Luau Bowl to predict how the California voters will lean in the upcoming election.

The predictive power of coffee, is there anything it can’t do?!

While that might work for the state of California, what about the rest of the USA? Fortunately, LaMar’s Donuts is using a sales of the Dough-Bama and Mitt Yum-ney donuts to get a feel for how the Nation will vote (as of this writing, Obama 51.5%, Romney 48.5%). However, with locations in only 6 states the results might not accurately reflect the whole Nation. Fortunately, 7-Eleven is a nationwide franchise that might be better able to get a feel for America’s political flavour. 7-Eleven has a great track record when it comes to predicting the President. With their 7-Election campaign, customers vote by purchasing a coffee cup in either Romney red, or Obama blue. The sales of each cup are tracked in real-time (as of this writing, Obama 60%, Romney 40%). In addition to 7-Eleven’s prognosticating prowess, Family Circle also has a good track record for predicting the next President, based on their wives’ cookie recipes. This year, Michelle Obama’s White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies edged out Ann Romney’s M&M’s Cookies by a mere 287 votes!

To re-cap, Romney is winning based on restaurant chains’ growth, Obama is winning in donuts, coffee, and cookies. When it comes to predicting who will win the election you can go with your gut, or alternatively you can look at Halloween mask sales.

One thought on “Food for Political Thought

  1. Pingback: War in 140 Characters | On a Quasi-Related Note

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