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FYI Guy

Seattle Times news librarian Gene Balk crunches the numbers

October 22, 2012 at 2:50 PM

The politics of drinking: is your wine red or blue?

I had some fun with market research data for last week’s presidential debate by looking at our local beer preferences through the lens of party politics.  One reader suggested that I do something similar with wine.

Now wine does not carry the same political significance as beer. You’d never hear anybody ask: “Which presidential candidate would you rather sit down to a glass of wine with?”  As popular as wine has become across the country,  I suppose it still doesn’t seem quite as American as beer.

But this is Washington State, one of the nation’s premium wine regions.  We produce great wines here, and we also enjoy drinking them.  Data from market research firm Scarborough show that 61 percent of folks in the Seattle metro area consider themselves wine drinkers.  So, with that in mind, I dove into the local data for wine and politics in anticipation of the final presidential debate.

Last week, when I looked at our beer drinking habits, it turned out that Republicans and Democrats here enjoy beer in equal measure.  Interestingly, though, this doesn’t hold true with wine.  Seattle-area Democrats are 15 percent more likely to be wine lovers than Republicans.  And Republicans are 27 percent more likely to say they never touch the stuff at all.

To get at what wines have the greatest political skew in the Seattle area, I devised two different rankings.  First, I looked at preferred wine varieties.  The lists below show the top three types of wines that have the greatest skew toward either Democratic or Republican likely voters in the Puget Sound region.  The higher the index number, the more that wine skews toward one or the other political party.

RANK

WINE TYPE

DEMOCRATIC INDEX

1

Champagne/sparkling wine

97

2

Spumante

88

3

Red zinfandel

76

 

 

 

RANK

WINE TYPE

REPUBLICAN INDEX

1

Other white wine*

30

2

Cabernet sauvignon

23

3

White zinfandel

23

Source: Scarborough Research, Seattle 2012 and 2011 Release 1

*includes white wines other than: chardonnay; riesling; white zinfandel, pinot gris/pinot grigio; spumante; champagne/sparkling wine; sauvignon blanc/fume blanc

Not sure what it means, but clearly Democrats around here like the bubbly a lot more than Republicans.   And our most middle-of-the-road variety?  Riesling.  It does have a slight Democratic skew, but Republicans like it (or dislike it?) almost as much.

Comments | More in Market Research | Topics: Politics, wine

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