What your favorite drink says about your politics, in one chart

December 31, 2013

Graphic courtesy Jennifer Dube, National Media Research Planning and Placement LLC

Former Mississippi governor and uber-Republican Haley Barbour loves bourbon. Franklin Roosevelt mixed martinis. And, as it turns out, those two partisans have something in common with their base voters: Consumer data suggests Democrats prefer clear spirits, while Republicans like their brown liquor.

Democratic drinkers are more likely to sip Absolut and Grey Goose vodkas, while Republican tipplers are more likely to savor Jim Beam, Canadian Club and Crown Royal. That research comes from consumer data supplied by GFK MRI, and analyzed by Jennifer Dube of National Media Research Planning and Placement, an Alexandria-based Republican consulting firm.

The results are fascinating: Analyzing voting habits of those who imbibe, Dube found that 14 of the top 15 brands that indicate someone is most likely to vote are wines.

If you see someone at your New Years party tonight drinking Kendall-Jackson or Robert Mondavi wines, that person is highly likely to vote, and they’re likely to vote Republican. Someone who savors a Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, one of Washington State’s top producers, or Smoking Loon, they’re likely to cast ballots for Democrats.

Columbia Crest, Ravenswood, Francis Coppola and Charles Shaw (better known as two-buck Chuck) all produce wines Democrats favor. Fish Eye, Bogle and Franzia drinkers are more likely to lean right.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, given the relative youth of those involved, people who take shots of Jagermeister or Don Julio are much less likely to vote.

The ironies abound. The comedian Bill Maher once accused House Speaker John Boehner of doing a shot of Wild Turkey every time House Republicans voted to defund Obamacare; little did he know Wild Turkey is one of the most heavily Republican brands. Smoking Loon, the Democratic-leaning wine, was formerly run by Don Sebastiani, who served three terms in the California state Assembly — as a Republican.

Rum appears to be the most bipartisan drink. Both Bacardi and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum fall right in the middle of the political spectrum.

So, for those hoping the spirit of bipartisanship infuses 2014, perhaps ringing in the new year with a rum punch is the best way to celebrate. Send a shot of Jim Beam to your friends at the Republican National Committee, and a shot of Jameson to your friends at the Democratic National Committee.

Champagne, as it turns out, is mostly a Democratic drink.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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Reid Wilson · December 31, 2013