As if Valentine’s Day wasn’t stressful enough already, now you have something else to worry about: Your partner’s political affiliation. According to a new study published in the Washington Post, your political beliefs do indeed have an affect on your candy preferences. Or is it the other way around? We’ll leave the correlation/causation question for another day, but one thing’s for sure: If you’re dating a committed Republican, don’t get them a pack of Nerds on V-Day. Try a Hershey’s Special Dark instead.
The graphic, courtesy of National Media Research, plots political affiliation on one axis and voting frequency on the other, so you can compare not only the differences between Democrats and Republicans, but also the difference between high-turnout and low-turnout voters.
While it’s hard to discern any concrete trends from the graph, liberals seem to enjoy a mix of fruit-based treats and chocolate, while conservatives almost exclusively go for chocolates. Fruit and gummy-based treats were particularly popular amongst low-turnout Democrats, and love for coconut candies was completely contained on the Democratic side.
Contrary to the portrayal of liberals as a bunch of highfalutin elitists, it’s politically-engaged Republicans who prefer to Ghiradelli chocolate, York Peppermint Patties, and other sweets that might best be described as “sophisticated,” to the extent that there’s any sophistication in candy choice. Other popular choices on the right side of the aisle include Heath bars, PayDay bars (capitalism, baby!), and Cadbury Creme Eggs. (The latter was particularly surprising to us — we’d always assumed popular affection for Cadbury Creme Eggs was the kind of thing that transcended party lines and brought people together.)
Progressives, meanwhile, preferred Jelly Belly, Tootsie Rolls, Starburst and Push Pops, while Marxists over on the far-left end of the spectrum went for Life Savers Gummies and Hershey’s Kisses with almonds. Strangely enough, the section for high-turnout Democrats was almost completely empty, which is probably the most telling portion of the whole study.
Butterfingers are the great uniters. They landed smack-dab in the middle of the graph, meaning they’re the treat of choice for medium-turnout moderates. Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and 4 Musketeers were also relatively non-controversial selections. Of course, everyone loves torturing their kids, regardless of political party.
These studies are always a bit difficult to take at face value, simply because there’s no logical or intuitive reason why a Tea Partier would prefer Junior Mints over Twizzlers, or why low-turnout Democrats would flock to Airheads instead of Skittles. That being said, you can’t argue with cold, hard data, so when you’re picking candy for your partner/crush/lover this year, make sure you keep their political beliefs in mind.
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