The cliché that liberals shop at Trader Joe’s, while conservatives prefer Walmart, is no doubt overstated. But where would the perception come from?
Newly published research provides a compelling answer: brand-name products. Conservatives gravitate toward them, and Walmart, unlike Trader Joe’s, is packed with them, reports Salon.com.
“That provocative conclusion can be drawn from a study in the journal Psychological Science. A research team led by Vishal Singh of New York University’s Stern School of Business has discovered a relationship between voting behavior, high levels of religiosity, and “seemingly inconsequential product choices.”
“They argue that your decision to vote for a certain candidate, and purchase a particular brand of detergent, springs from the same basic impulse:“Our empirical results, based on extensive field data, provide strong evidence that more conservative ideology is associated with higher reliance on established national brands (as opposed to generics) and a slower uptake of new products.”
“These tendencies are consistent with traits typically associated with conservatism, such as aversion to risk, skepticism about new experiences, and a general preference for tradition, convention, and the status quo.”The researchers used a comprehensive database that tracks weekly store sales of thousands of products. Focusing on 416 counties which collectively represent 47 percent of the U.S. population, they calculated the market share of generics in 26 categories, including coffee, deodorant, and peanut butter. Continue reading “Counting liberals at Trader Joe’s”