Fig Newtons for Hillary

Someone who subscribes to a lot of gourmet cooking magazines is more likely to be a Democrat or at least more open to progressive causes. If you’re a Republican, you probably like Dr Pepper. This is all according to pollster Christopher Mann, who helps the New York Times break down the links between food brand consumption and how people tend to vote (registration required for all links in this post).

Unsurprisingly, the pollsters really embrace the “Marin County hot-tubbers” (Bush the elder’s famous quote) type of stereotypes. The article leads with this formulation: If you have white wine in your refrigerator and Fig Newtons in the cookie jar, you’re probably going to vote for Hillary Clinton. If, however, you have olive oil and Bear Naked granola in your cupboard, you’re an Obama fan. Are you a supporter of John McCain? You like bourbon and stuffed crust pizza.

Three sidebars offer even more food-vote links. You might be a Clinton supporter if … your shopping cart includes Luna Bar energy bars and butter, or if you use honey as a sweetener. You might be a McCain supporter if … you pick up crunchy chocolate chip cookies at the supermarket, and you prefer PowerBar energy bars and margarine. You might be an Obama supporter if … you use Sugar in the Raw, shop at the farmers’ market, and regularly buy Kettle Chips.

How does any of this knowledge help political strategists? Pollsters say it’s all about efficient use of marketing materials. But James Carville, Democratic strategist, thinks it’s a waste of time. “Suppose I found out people who drink cappuccinos are Democrats and black coffee drinkers are likely to vote Republican?” he asked. “So what? All kinds of other things are more predictive and less expensive to find out.”

(For a look at what the candidates’ food choices say about them, check out CHOW’s Super Tuesday Eat Sheet.)