Red and Blue Brands: How Democrats and Republicans Shop

Can your politics predict what brand of coffee you'll like?

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If you didn’t think the red state/blue state divide was real, a new study shows that not only do Democrats and Republicans hold different political beliefs but they even have distinct differences in consumer behavior — from their preferred brand of coffee to their favorite gaming console.

The study, published by marketing-insight firm Buyology, used neurological techniques to gauge the gut reactions of 4,000 participants to different brands, and then correlated that with their political leanings.

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The results: while Democrats prefer gaming on a Wii while sipping a Starbucks coffee, Republicans prefer afternoons of Xbox playing and chugging java from Dunkin’ Donuts. Democrats watch NFL games while Republicans prefer major league baseball. Republicans prefer to get their car insurance from Allstate; Democrats, perhaps unsurprisingly, prefer Progressive.

While few of the brands included in the survey would say they attempt to appeal to certain political persuasions, their ad campaigns frequently tap into something subconscious in the consumer, says Buyology’s CEO.

“At a deep level, there’s a philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats,” Gary Singer told CNNMoney. “ What Democrats are looking for is a central body to help make the world we live in a little better, and what Republicans are advocating is more laissez-faire, local, let the people work it out.”

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A Republican fondness for Subway sandwiches, then, could arguably make political sense: the customer has total control over what goes in their meal. At Wendy’s, the most popular fast food among Democrats, the customer picks a combo meal with everything put together and ready to go.

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Although of the 200 brands used in the study, Republicans and Democrats rarely saw eye-to-eye, they did agree on a few. Across the board, both Republicans and Democrats favor Apple, Google, Visa, and Coca-Cola. Singer said that Coke’s focus on happiness in ads may be what reaches across party lines. Singer also seemed to think that those five brands represented ultimate leadership in business. “If you have clarity and distinctiveness there really is an opportunity to bring the country together.”

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