Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Are we so divided as a nation that liberals and conservatives don't even see eye to eye on shopping? In time for the holiday season, Chuck Todd's Meet The Press analyzed data from a Simmons Research consumer survey and put together a list of stores with the highest conservative and liberal index. In the survey, Americans who described themselves as either liberal and conservative were asked how likely or unlikely they were to shop at a long list of retailers. The index counted 100 as the average, and anything above 100 meant people were more likely to shop at each store while under 100 meant they were less likely.
It turns out there was a definite red state and blue state divide. "Stores that are very popular with liberals OR conservatives are generally not big with liberals AND conservatives," Meet the Press's Dante Chinni writes.
The top 10 stores most highly preferred by conservatives included Belk, Dillard's, Hobby Lobby, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Sam's Club. The commonalities? A lot of these stores were Southern, suburban, or sporty. And Hobby Lobby is aligned with conservatives after winning its Supreme Court battle over contraceptives and the Affordable Care Act.
On the liberal side, stores included J.Crew, Nordstrom, REI, Gap, Sephora, and fast fashion chains like F21 and H&M. Department store giant Macy's was also in the liberal camp, with an index of 129. Most of these stores are located in Democratic-leaning urban areas, where shoppers might not have even heard of Belk.
This divide in terms of geography for stores in red states and blue states might have deeper meaning, Meet the Press surmises:
The point? The splits between red and blue America run deep and play a role in our lives in more ways than we realize. Even acts that are not overtly political have taken on political undertones in 2015 - right down to where you do your holiday shopping.
For more stats on conservative and liberal shopping, Time magazine ranked brands like Starbucks, Old Navy, and Trader Joe's as either Democrat or Republican last year.