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Does Candy Choice Reflect Voting Habits?

February 12, 2014
by Candy & Snack TODAY

Alexandria, VA — Could vending machine choices mirror voting booth choices? To some extent — maybe, according to Will Feltus, senior vice-president for research and planning at National Media Research, Planning and Placement, LLC.

In time for Valentine’s Day, Feltus and Mike Shannon, a partner in Vianovo, an Austin, TX-based management consulting firm, have released the results of a 2013 survey of the voting habits of 50,000 adults, who were also asked about their candy purchases during the previous 30 days.

The people have spoken: Results indicate Republicans prefer chocolate, particularly dark and filled varieties, while Democrats snack on both chocolate and non-chocolate candy. When it comes to chocolate, Democrats favor inclusions: fruit, nuts and crisped rice.

Independents — those who skewed strongly neither to the right or left and had an average rate of turnout at the polls — preferred Butterfingers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, M&M’s Dark Chocolate Peanut and bars such as 3 Musketeers, Snickers and Milky Way.

More brands and a higher rate of candy consumption were seen among voters with a lower rate of turnout for both parties, which Feltus says reflects age: Younger people vote with less regularity. Among these voters, bite-size and non-chocolate items such as Skittles, Nerds, SweeTarts, Hershey’s Kisses, M&M’s and Rolos are winners.

He notes that, unlike previous surveys of voters about their liquor, beer and wine preferences, no major regional differences in candy preferences appear.

“We survey people’s media behaviors for clients,” Feltus explains to Candy & Snack TODAY. “It’s just fun for us to do other consumer categories.”

According to the NCA, more than $1 billion will be spent on Valentine’s Day candy purchases. Members of Congress might start keeping a closer eye on the vending machines.


In a survey of political affiliation, respondents were asked to name brands of candy they had purchased within the previous month. Strength of party preference increases with distance from the center line. Reprinted with permission from National Media Research, Planning nd Placement, LLC

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