WASHINGTON — It’s the holiday season, the time of year where we put aside our differences and celebrate goodwill toward all. But in 2018 America, politics can find its way into unexpected places — even into the gifts under the tree or the boxes you're wrapping this weekend.
Data from Simmons Consumer Research shows political partisanship even seeps into what toys and gifts we’ll be exchanging this season. The company asked people what toys they are looking to buy this season and some patterns emerged.
If your child got a toy from a Trump voter, there’s a decent chance it is something from Nerf.
Among Trump voters, 36 percent said they expect to shop for Nerf products in the next six months. That’s eight points higher than Clinton voters, 28 percent said they would be shopping for Nerf with the holidays approaching.
Nerf is a lot more than just spongy footballs and basketballs. There are lots of good, safe, Nerf guns out there. That may be driving the partisan difference here. Trump voters, in general, tend to be more supportive of gun rights.
Looking at a gift from that uncle who is a known independent voter? The Simmons data suggests Hot Wheels may in your future.
More than four in 10 independents told Simmons they were planning on buying something from the universe of miniature die-cast vehicles. The number among Democrats and Republicans is about 10 points lower.
And even in 2018, Barbie lives on as a holiday purchase among Democrats and Republicans alike.
About a quarter of people who are registered with each party said they would be purchasing the fashion/career doll that has endured for nearly 60 years. No word on whether they purchased her as a beekeeper, an astronaut, or a farmer — a few of Barbie’s many professions.
But beyond those toys, there is one children’s gift everyone seems to agree upon: Legos.
Majorities of men and women, liberals and conservative and, yes, even Clinton and Trump voters said they were planning on buying the building brick toy as the holidays approached.
For the older kids, including those above the age of 18, video games are often the gift of choice and the data suggest a couple of points on them.
First and foremost if you are buying a gift for an adult, video games are more popular among Democrats. They are more likely to say they have played games on a list of popular titles. But leaving that fact aside, there are some partisan breakdowns in the world of screens and controllers.
The most popular games for both Democrats and Republicans are "Call of Duty" and "Fortnite." Further down the list, Democrats favor Super Mario Kart, while Republicans lean towards MLB, the popular baseball game.
And in this time of year that is always special for children, the data from Simmons reveal one final nugget that is bigger than just toys or games; it is about parenting.
Majorities of Republicans and Democrats say they want to provide their children with things they didn't have as a child. And majorities of Republicans and Democrats admit that they often indulge their children with "little extras." Or, as Simmons Chief Scientist Steve Millman says, “When it comes to spoiling the kids, we’re all just Americans!”
That’s likely one big note of political agreement when getting together with friends and relatives this year during the holidays. And that’s a good thing to have this season because if this week’s news is any indication, discord is likely to reign in next year’s political discussions.