Consuming Politics

By now I’m sure you’ve read all about how the Conservatives won power by playing Tim Horton’s voters off against the latteratti, or heard all about their fancy  “Zoey” and “Steve” demographic segmentation (although as Tom Axworthy wrote in a recent op-ed in the OC,  Liberal pollster Martin Goldfarb was doing this 35 years ago; and as Glen McGregor showed after the recent election, it’s all a bit of bunk anyway, at least w/r/t to the whole coffee shop affiliation thing). 

At any rate, John Zogby thinks this doesn’t go nearly far enough. In his very good new book The Way We’ll Be,  he shows how polling data on liberals vs conservatives breaks down along retail lines:

Bloomingdales has a liberal/conservative ratio of 48:26, Macy’s is 42:32, and Target is 39:36. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart is overwhelmingly Republican, while the ratio for Sears is 16:57 and for JC Penney is 21:50. So strong are shopping destinations as predictors of political leanings, Zogby claims that the most telling indicator that Bush was losing the American people and his base was when his approval rating amongst Wal-Mart shoppers fell into the low 40s. 

“Indeed,” writes Zogby, “I have a not-so-far-fetched vision of a time in the near future when election night TV maps will be peppered with store logos, and instead of swooning over which way Ohio votes we’ll swoon over which way Target and Kohl’s have fallen. I have an even clearer vision of candidates making media buys not through TV or radio stations, but through store catalogs.” (TWWB, p9). 

I can’t wait to see the interactive CNN map.

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