Here’s how food preference can predict your vote choice


Washington DC: In what has left the traditional political measures unexplained, it has come to a notice that certain seemingly non-political topics can be a way to understand people’s political choices. Questions surrounding someone’s food preferences, travel or favourite sports can shed light on someone’s local versus cosmopolitan orientation.

The latest New York Times/Siena College poll asked 584 possible Iowa Democratic caucusgoers some of the typical political questions, like whether they were Democrats or Republicans, and whether they planned to vote. But along with it, they also followed a few random questions like if they’d been out for Indian food or how important it is to buy organic food.

Such less political-oriented questions when asked during the 2008 Democratic primary, helped to differentiate voters who chose Barack Obama from those of who chose Hillary Clinton.

The people who were more likely to experience other unfamiliar cultures, be it through travel or food were more likely to vote for Mr Obama.

Even in 2016, such an orientation toward the world came as help to differentiate people who supported Donald J. Trump from those who supported any of the 16 other candidates in the Republican primary.

By asking such non-political questions to the voters, it came to light that voters who had been to Europe, Australia, Canada or Mexico or had eaten at an Indian restaurant were less likely to choose Mr Trump by 10 to 12 percentage points, beyond the differences of factors like education, income, racial attitudes, personality, and city living, reported The New York Times.

In the 1950s, sociology researchers focused more on workplace dynamics and did not look at voting behaviour.

They tried to understand the situation by seeing weather the employees were likely to solve problems locally (by working it out within their unit) or globally (by leveraging ideas outside their group).

Gregory Ferenstein, David Broockman, and Neil Malhotra in a recent paper returned to a workplace setting and showed that these orientations also separated technology entrepreneurs from other economic elites in terms of their attitudes toward economic and social policy.

Tech entrepreneurs are more cosmopolitan and the authors think the rise of tech could, therefore, help to reduce economic inequality and other social and political inequalities, as these cosmopolitans start influencing politics and policy.

A similar concept is emerging among possible Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa this year. The Times/Siena poll revealed the same descriptive differences across the candidates’ supporters on basic demographics like age, education and race, and on political characteristics.

Most of the supporters gave the president a low approval rating, disapprove of the military strike that killed the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, and believe the president should be removed from office.

Meanwhile, Iowans who supported Mr. Sanders were the most in favour of the United States withdrawing its military forces from the Middle East, while those of Amy Klobuchar was the most critical.

Non-political questions came with no discernible differences across the candidates’ supporters in Iowa, such as on buying organic foods, which most of them thought as important, and using Twitter to read political news, that most prefer not to.

When taken the context of Indian food in Iowa, supporters of Mr. Sanders are its biggest fans, while Mr. Biden’s supporters are less likely to go for Indian dining.

A voter’s orientation toward the world is related to candidate choice.

One way to measure where people think they are more connected to, be to those around them locally or to people farther afield is to eat in restaurants that celebrate less familiar cultures. (ANI)