Tea Party and the Right  
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Conservatives Drink Bud, Liberals Drink Heineken?

The new science of ideology now extends to consumer choices, demonstrating how unconscious our political viewpoints really are.

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Finally, major international corporations are presumably aware of how their product sales vary by U.S. counties—and whether these counties are “red” or “blue.” So we can probably assume that businesses themselves are at least dimly aware of this politicized aspect of consumer behavior. Indeed, many businesses likely use this to their advantage. After all, it is by establishing nationally recognized brands--brands that carry with them the implied promise that you know exactly what you’re going to get from this product, and won’t have to worry about it ever again—that you lock in “conservative” customers.

Investors must be subtly aware of this as well. The concept of an “ economic moat,” so touted by (liberal) investor Warren Buffett, denotes the idea that a company has an unbreachable citadel in the marketplace because competitors just can’t make inroads against its brands or client base. Presumably, if there weren’t so many conservative consumers out there, economic moats would be more difficult to establish.

In an earlier version of their study (why do journals always edit out the best stuff?), Singh and his colleagues concluded with a contrast of liberal and conservative beer choices, remarking that conservatives seem to like domestic beers—Budweiser, Miller—versus foreign imports, like Guinness or Heineken. They might also have mentioned Coors, for many years run by Joseph Coors, who generously funded conservative causes and helped found the Heritage Foundation and fund Ronald Reagan’s campaigns.

Admit it: We’ve kind of known all along that many successful brands in the marketplace are, in their overall cultural meaning, right-wing. What the new research does is ground this basic intuition in the growing science of ideology, whose results are quickly becoming inescapable—and vital to understanding who we really are as a species.

Chris Mooney is the author of four books, including "The Republican War on Science" (2005). His next book, "The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science—and Reality," is due out in April.