Which types of candy do Democrats and Republicans prefer?

Washington Post links confections to political parties.

February 12, 2014
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Apparently, Republicans like M&M’s Peanut Butter, while Democrats prefer their M&M’S with almonds, but everybody loves a Butterfinger.

That’s according to new data reported in the Washington Post, which purports to link confections to political parties.

The authors, Will Feltus and Mike Shannon, say they were inspired to do the study after receiving data from the National Confectioners Association claiming that Americans “prefer chocolate over flowers for Valentine’s Day.”

“The NCA’s use of campaign-style polling to trumpet its members’ products is smart marketing and sweet politics... This got us thinking about the politics of candy.”

The data looks at Democrats and Republicans and divides each of them into two categories: low voter turnout and high voter turnout, meaning those who are not likely to vote or those who are likely to vote.

It then graphs confectionery brands on the chart based on how much each group likes each candy.

Butterfinger was the big winner, landing smack dab in in the middle; it seems to be everyone’s favorite candy. Maybe it holds the secret to solving the country’s political deadlock.

Other candies that managed to find middle ground included: Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, 3 Musketeers, Reese’s Pieces, Hershey’s Chocolate, and M&M’S Dark Chocolate with peanuts.

Democrats who were unlikely to show up at the polls seemed to like candy in general a lot more than Democrats who weren’t likely to vote.

The Democrats with low voter turnout especially loved AirHeads, Nerds and M&M’s Minis.  But they wouldn’t turn down a Life Savers Gummies, a Push Pop, a Twix, or a Kit Kit.

Meanwhile, the Democrats who were likely to vote weren’t especially excited about any particular candy, but they did like Mounds, Rasinets, Mr. Goodbar and Twizzler.

Then there’s the Republicans. They were  the opposite of Democrats, in that the Republicans who were likely to vote seemed to be more passionate about candy in general than those Republicans who don’t usually show up at the polls.

Those Republicans who were likely to vote really liked Hershey’s Special Dark, Ghirardelli, York Peppermint Pattie and Hershey’s Extra Dark. They also enjoy Russell Stover, Heath, Junior Mints, Dove Chocolates and M&M’S Milk Chocolate.

And, Republicans who don’t usually vote really liked Rolo, Skittles and Sweetarts.

So what does all this data mean for the future of our country, and the future of the confectionery industry?

Well, first of all, it’s pretty clear that people from both parties love candy. That could mean anything from the fact that it would be a good idea to hand it out during campaign events to the fact that trying to demonize the confectionery and sugar industries probably isn’t a great idea.

And, as the chart shows, Snickers, Butterfinger and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups have huge followings, which would make them great confections to pass out with a candidate’s sticker attached for the general elections. And, it would be best to hand out dark chocolates to Republicans during the primaries, and candies like Mounds and Twizzlers to Democrats during the primaries.

On the confectionery side of things, all this data holds a lot of potential for confectionery marketing. Brands can either choose to accept their position on the chart or try to reach out to voters in the other party.

The Washington Post authors also offered some insight into the results.

“Democrats tend to prefer their candy be filled with extras like almonds, raisins and rice.  Republicans, on the other hand, are more likely to favor peanuts, creamy fillings and darker chocolate,” they wrote.

Another interesting fact that the Washington Post  pointed out is that while President Ronald Reagan, a hero within the Republican Party, made Jelly Belly jelly beans famous, the state in which the candy is produced -- California -- is now on the Democrat’s side.

“One brand that seems to have something for everyone is M&M’S,” the Washington Post authors write. “ The beloved candy’s variations occupy spots on the left, right and center of the chart.  Maybe that is why M&M’S are kept in sterling silver bowls around the Obama White House or why every commander-in-chief since Ronald Reagan has doled out M&M’S boxes adorned with the presidential seal.”

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