The red/blue political divide runs deep through America, deep enough that it can even push its way into the coolers and snack bowls you find at Super Bowl parties in the homes of liberal and conservative game watchers on Sunday.
What you eat and drink may not define you, but what kind of beer is in the fridge – or whether it is there at all – and what you have to munch on offers hints that you hold certain political views, according to data from Experian Marketing Services.
Experian’s data shows that self-described liberals drink more beer than conservatives by a wide margin – they are 32 percent more likely to be beer drinkers and 21 percent more likely than the average American. Those who self-identify as middle of the road are only slightly more likely to drink beer – about 4 percent more likely.
And liberals score much higher when it comes to drinking craft beers - the hipper, micro-brews that have become popular and that tend to cost much more than major brands like Budweiser and Miller.
Self-described liberals are 52 percent more likely to drink craft beers than the average American. Both conservatives and moderates are less likely than average to drink craft beers.
You can see all these numbers and how they move from beer to beer and group to group by looking at the charts here.
The differences appear in world of salty snacks as well – what people chomp on as they sip their suds.
Self-described conservatives favor pretzels, while self-described liberals are much more likely to have pita chips in their snack bowls. Middle-of-the-roaders meanwhile score much higher for eating party mix. If you are looking for a common denominator in a divided country – or if you are looking to just bring people together – serve corn chips. There is only a one percent difference in purchases among all the political types.
You can see those snack numbers here.
The larger meaning behind citing all these numbers isn’t just to show who eats and drinks what or to simply have fun with stereotypes – yes, liberals drink fancy beer, and conservatives like pretzels. The broader point is the political divides in the country run deep and are ultimately based in more than just how people vote. Economics, geography and culture combine to put Americans in different realities.
Consider, for instance, the lower numbers of beer drinking for conservatives. A good deal of that difference has to do with the fact that conservatives often tend to be more religious than their liberal counterparts and also less likely to drink.
The self-identified conservatives in the Southeast, Southwest and Pacific regions were the least likely to say they drink beer. The Southeast and Southwest regions contain states with large evangelical populations – Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, etc. The Pacific region contains big Mormon states, such at Utah and Idaho. In states usually thought of as the Midwest and Mountain West, conservatives were more likely to say they drink beer.
And there may be a number of reasons why self-described liberals like craft beer so much, but one big reason may simply be they can afford it. Liberals are 15 percent more likely than the average American to have a household income of more than $150,000. Conservatives are dead-even with the national average.
Liberals are also more likely to be based on the coasts, where the craft beer trend was born and took root. Think of Portland and San Francisco in the west or Boston and New York in the east.
In other words, it’s complicated. The blue/red divide is increasingly about more than different politics, it’s about different ways of life down to even small details: different neighborhoods with different attitudes, different habits and, yes, even different brands.
So now feel free to judge your friends and family for the type of beer they drink and the snacks they munch on Super Bowl Sunday.