Beyond Barack & Mitt: For Which Brands are Democratic, Republican Customers Voting?



Brian Cantor
11/05/2012

The grave, disastrous implications of Hurricane Sandy might have made it a secondary focus for many Americans this past week, but the significance of November 6 cannot be overstated. For the first time in four years, Americans will vote on the nation’s executive leadership.

Will they say "yes we can" to four more years of Democratic President Barack Obama? Or will Republican Mitt Romney provide the change in which they truly believe?

Regardless of their final decision, roughly half of them will be disappointed. America will choose a president from between the two candidates, and no matter how much rhetoric that president-elect delivers about unifying government, he will never succeed in eliminating partisanship. He will struggle to convince even a handful of detractors that he will make for a better president than their preferred choice.

And yet for the next four years, disappointed Americans will have no choice but to live with the decision of the national electorate. The concept of voting, perhaps the greatest example of societal empowerment, suddenly projects a feeling of imprisonment.

But not all decisions spend so much time away from the hand of man. Americans might have only a limited, occasional opportunity to directly change the course of government, but they are always in control of their brand preferences. They always get to determine whether a brand’s products, identity, service levels and even stances on socioeconomic issues connect enough with their own values to warrant continued support.

In advance of Tuesday’s presidential election, YouGov analyzed brand popularitywith self-identified democrats, republicans and independents. The top brands, broken down by party affiliation, are below:

Results

Democrats
1) Google; 2) Amazon; 3) Cheerios; 4) Clorox; 5) Craftsman; 6) Dawn; 7) M&Ms; 8) Levi’s; 9) PBS; 10) Sony

Republican
1) FOX News; 2) History Channel; 3) Craftsman; 4) Chick Fil-A; 5) Johnson & Johnson; 6) Lowe’s; 7) Cheerios; 8) Clorox; 9) FOX; 10) Discovery Channel

Independents
1) Amazon; 2) Craftsman; 3) History Channel; 4) Discovery Channel; 5) Google; 6) Clorox; 7) Lowe’s; 8) Johnson & Johnson; 9) Cheerios; 10) M&Ms

Insights

  • As the sole restaurant chain on any list, Chick Fil-A’s emergence as a top brand for Republicans speaks to the impact of the company’s gay marriage scandal. While the chain eventually softened its view, its initial support in favor of a traditional, heterosexual definition of marriage divided the nation, with some boycotting the chicken shop and others jumping at the opportunity to show appreciation for the brand. That appreciation remains strong, and members of the republican party have a very favorable perception of Chick Fil-A.
  • The independent chart includes more overlap with the republican top ten than the democratic top ten. Also noteworthy is the fact that the overlap includes several of the more partisan-skewing brands. Amazon, a liberal-skewing brand that carries the second-best perception with democrats and is not in the top ten for republicans, tops the independent preference chart (Google, the best-perceived brand by democrats, is fifth for independents). History Channel and Discovery Channel, which rank in the top five for independents, both appear on the republican chart but do not appear on the democratic top ten.
  • Based on the perception scores, republicans are more passionate about their favorite brands than democrats. The range of scores for the top ten is 53.1 (Sony) to 65.0 (Google) for democrats. For republicans, it is 58.3 (Discovery Channel) to 64.5 (FOX News).
  • FOX News, which tops the republican list, is the only cable news network to appear in any top ten. Regardless of whether its audience watches because it shares the network’s alleged conservative bias or because it believes it represents a "fair and balanced" alternative to the notorious liberal media, FOX News clearly elicits passion from its audience, and it is unsurprisingly the most-watched of the major cable news outlets.
  • Though it does not appear on the top ten, General Motors was reportedly the "fourth biggest perception gainer among Democrats over the past year." The recipient of bailout money under democratic President Barack Obama, General Motors’ rebound was trumpeted by Obama supporters as part of the "Osama is Dead, GM is alive" tagline.
  • Netflix, also not listed in the top ten, was the biggest perception gainer for all three groups. Though its stock price remains considerably below its levels from before the pricing scandal, the one-time Wall Street darling has at least begun recovering from the perception damage it experienced after discontinuing bundle pricing for those who jointly subscribed to the streaming and DVD-by-mail services.

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