The Politics of the Palate Just Doesn’t Taste Right

The lead article in the Times’ “Dining” section today makes so much sense intuitively, and so little sense in its particulars, that our minds are still buzzing over it. In their search to parse the identities of potential voters, various pollsters and social-science types have figured out how your palate defines your politics. That’s believable enough. Clearly, people who eat Moon Pies tend to be less vehement about the capital-gains tax than those who snack on caviar-topped blini. But “Democrats prefer Popeye’s and Republicans Chick-fil-A”? Really? Then why aren’t there as many Chick-fil-A outlets as there are Popeye’s? (And, anyway, anyone who would prefer Chick-fil-A to Popeye’s doesn’t deserve the right to vote.) These kind of broad-gauge cultural generalizations are all right as knowing jokes in Vanity Fair or on The Daily Show, but when applied to the democratic process, they are grotesque. (The reflexive red state–blue state culture pairing was one of the very worst journalistic legacies of the Clinton years.) Now hand us a beet sangria — we have an Obama rally to catch.

What’s for Dinner? The Pollster Wants to Know [NYT]