The Checkout

The Politics of Shopping

Ylan Mui

Everyone wants a little piece of the political action these days, even retailers.

Two interesting releases came across my inbox the other day. (None of which had any real inside info. For that, head to The Trail!) But they did offer some insights into what your credit card statement might say about your voting record.

According to BIGresearch, which studies consumer behavior, people who drink Starbucks coffee favor Obama (44 percent) over McCain (37.8 percent), giving some credence to the term "latte liberals." However, if you head to McDonald's for your morning cup o' joe (and perhaps a well-done sausage McMuffin and hash browns ...mmmmm), you are more likely to support McCain (45.4 percent) than Obama (29.2 percent). At Dunkin' Donuts, 22 percent of customers are undecided, the most of any chain.

"With a declining number of Starbuck stores, it's possible the 'new' key battleground states may be McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts," said Gary Drenik, president of BIGresearch.

Har, har.

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is wading into the political waters with some new ads coinciding with the Democratic and Republican conventions that focus on the economy and, of course, Wal-Mart's low prices. The company released some results from a survey conducted for it by Voter/Consumer Research of Washington that showed three-quarters of African Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics are more likely to shop at Wal-Mart now than six months ago. And half of undecided voters say they are now more likely to shop there -- the implicit message being that Wal-Mart and its customers are important constituencies.

Hmmm, maybe all this means that the candidates should spend more time stumping in shopping centers.

By Ylan Mui |  August 22, 2008; 5:06 PM ET Consumer News , Ylan Mui
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