Our political persuasions are a part of so many parts of our life, from the friends we keep, to the jobs we hold, to the items we buy. Although you may not realize it, depending on whether you lean Republican or Democrat you might be more inclined to buy certain products.
Ted Marzilli helps to collect and analyze the data. He's the managing director of BrandIndex at You-Gov Definitive insights. He explains the data and the correlation between the brands consumers purchase and their political affiliation. He explains that the data is collected by "two different measurements, first is we ask people to describe themselves as Republican, Democrat or Independent, and secondly we ask them to give us ratings about the brands."
The company tracks a wide variety of about 1,100 consumer brands. He said that the questions they ask consumers in their surveys consist of whether they have heard anything positive or negative about the brand. They consider advertising, news, and word-of-mouth.
"We calculate these scores by taking the percentage of people who say they have heard something positive about the brand less the percentage of people who say they have heard something negative." Mr. Marzilli says. "So then we're able filter the scores based on Republicans, Democrats, and Independents."
Mr. Marzilli says that he is not sure that there is a conscious affiliation people make with a particular brand. However he does say that "there are some exceptions where we can look at brands which are quite, seemingly, polarizing. So if you look at PBS for example, it's in the top 10 among folks who consider themselves Democrats, it's much much lower on the list of people who consider them Republicans; number 772 out of 1,100 brands tracked. Fox News, which is number one among Republicans, is very far down on the list with Democrats."
The evidence suggests that consumers pay attention to what company's do politically. For example Google ranked higher among Democrats whose CEO's have hosted Democratic fundraisers. Another more notorious example is Chick-Fill-A, whose CEO made comments on marriage which resulted in a firestorm of controversy and protests.
In regards to Fox News' status as the number one Republican brand, he said that "it is a concerted strategy on their part, they looked at the media landscape and said there is an opportunity for a network, that depending on your point of view either skews right or is fair and balanced."
He says that there are some marketing strategies that appeal to a mass consumer base and some strategies that appeal to more niche market. He cites the marketing strategies of the auto market, where Honda and Toyota appeal to a larger group of Americans in the middle of socio-economic scale, while the marketing strategies of Mercedes and BMW focuses on Americans at higher end of socio-economic scale. He suggests that a company's market can effect how it falls on the lists ranking.
However, he says that the vast majority of brands on their list want to sell their products to everybody so they do their best to stay neutral in regards to their perceived political affiliations.