The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
on entertainment and media

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Pop culture clash: Conservatives loyal to very different brands from liberals

October 29, 2010 | 12:23 pm

Bill_O'reilly I keep hoping that some shrewd pollster--Frank Luntz, are you listening?--will survey liberals and conservatives to figure out if they really have different tastes in movies. It's no stretch to imagine that "Secretariat" is probably as much of a conservative movie as "The Social Network" is a liberal one, but what about "Due Date" or "Saw 3D" or "Toy Story 3"? Do they cut across all political boundaries? Do animated family films, so reassuring to viewers, have a secret rightward tilt? Do horror films, which take audiences on queasy thrill rides, appeal to sensation-seeking lefties?

But thanks to a fascinating new survey from YouGov BrandIndex, we now know that many of America's top brands actually have a political tilt in terms of their popularity. YouGov asked people to rate a brand's quality, value and general satisfaction level--but then indexed the answers based on the respondent's political affiliations. The Democrats' favorite brand? Google. The Republicans' favorite brand? Fox News.

There were a number of brands that showed up on both party's Top 10, including Craftsman, Johnson & Johnson and FedEx, but it was telling to see that no Internet brands made the GOP list while two--Google and Amazon--made the Democrat list. And it's certainly telling, in terms of psychographics, that the Democrats' favorite brand is a search engine that offers a totally open-ended cache of information while the Republicans' favorite brand is a news and opinion outlet that preaches to the converted.

There were other, not-so-surprising rankings, notably that only the Democrats included Progressive on their Top 5 list of insurers (Aflac only showed up on the Republicans' Top 5 picks). Jet Blue was the third-ranked airline brand with Democrats, but didn't make the Top 5 with Republicans. But here's the big surprise for me--Democrats ranked Sony as their No. 2 favorite brand of all, yet Apple didn't make the Top 10 list for either party. Nor was Disney anywhere to be found. I would've expected Wal-Mart to make the GOP Top 10, but it didn't make the cut either. And what--no McDonald's? I mean, what is this country coming to? 

Photo: Fox News' top-rated host, Bill O'Reilly, at his desk on the news show set. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times