(Roughly) Daily

Red food, blue food…

Hunch is a website that uses uses multiple-choice questions to help its users make decisions…   The crowd-sourced  brain-child of Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr, and several of the folks who built SiteAdvisor, Hunch gets “smarter”– more effective– as more folks use it… kind of “Aardvark meets Wikipedia“…

Now the Content Lead at Hunch, Kelly Ford, has applied the site’s preference assessment algorithm to a question that has lain unanswered for far too long:  how do food preferences vary by political ideology?


* This report examines the differences in selected food-related preferences and choices made by self-described conservatives and liberals.

* The report draws on aggregated data collected between April 2009 and November 2009 from Hunch, a website which aids in decision making.

Key Findings

* While there is significant common ground in the food choices made between the two groups, there are also important differences.  Liberals show a consistent tendency to enjoy more international and exotic cuisines, with conservatives often leaning more towards mainstream, comfort food staples.

* Significant differences also surface between the two groups in consumption preferences for meat, vegetables, fruit, and “healthy alternatives”, with conservatives generally choosing the less healthy options.

For example…

Preferred French Fry Type

Conservative McDonald’s

Liberal Bistro-style

Summary and conclusions

The data in this report shows a consistent pattern for conservatives to trend towards “homey”, familiar, comfort foods and meat-heavy options. They are more likely than liberals to indulge in fast food and enjoy splurges like cheeseburgers, hot dogs, deep dish pizza and sugar soda. Their idea of international food is a “mainstream” option such as Italian.

Liberals are more likely to be adventuresome eaters, choosing international options such as Japanese or Thai. They eat fast food less frequently than conservatives, and when they do splurge on fast food they have a tendency to favor specialty, regional chains. Liberals are more likely to be vegetarians and to choose healthier options such as whole grain bread, darker greens of lettuce, and more frequent servings of fruit.

The food preferences expressed are no doubt heavily influenced by the regional tastes of areas which are relatively more conservative or liberal. For example, fried chicken is a staple of the conservative American South. “In-N-Out” burger, favored by liberals, is a popular chain in the liberal state of California.

More on the methodology and results here.

As we decide whether to lick the left or right side of our lips, we might note that it was on this date in 1380 that French King Charles VI declared, at a celebration of his coronation in Rhiems at age 11 a week earlier, “no taxes forever”…  known thereafter alternately as “Charles the Well-Beloved” and “Charles the Mad,” he clearly begged to differ with Jesus, Defoe, and Franklin. In any case, it didn’t work out that way:  until Charles took complete charge as king in 1388, France was ruled by his uncle, Philip the Bold. Philip raised taxes and also overspent money from the treasury to pay for the continuing Hundred Years War with England.  Indeed, it was Charles who was on the losing side of Henry V’s famous triumph at Agincourt.

Charles VI

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