Carat Analyzes Election Day Consumers

Nov 5, 2008  •  Post A Comment

With Election Day occupying most of the nation’s attention this week, media agency Carat decided to take a closer look at voters.
After all, if the president can be packaged and sold like a product, shouldn’t one know all there is to know about the consumers, the target audience?
In doing its analysis, based on both proprietary and syndicated research, Carat’s goal wasn’t to reveal which candidate would win or which would be more attractive to undecided voters.
Instead, it was designed to provide insights into the geo-demographic and psychographic differences among registered voters who identify themselves as conservative, independent or liberal.
Carat pointed out that according to a Simmons survey, 68.5 million registered voters identify themselves as conservative, 57.5 million as independent and 31 million as liberal. The conservatives are the oldest group, with a mean age of 51, compared to 47 for both the independents and the liberals. Half the conservatives were male, while independents were 55% female and liberals were 57% female.
In terms of household income, the liberals were most well off, earning a median of $75,500 per year. Independents earned $69,100 and conservatives took in $67,900. Liberals also were much more likely to have college degrees than either conservatives or independents.
Looking at data from Mediamark Research over a three-year period, Carat found that the 50- to 64-year-old age bracket is becoming more liberal, with 31% of those individuals calling themselves liberal, compared to 28% in 2006.
The number of liberal voters serving in local organizations grew to 17% from 14%. During the same period, the number of conservatives participating in those types of committees was unchanged at 9%. Similarly, the total for independents stayed at 8%.
More liberal and conservative voters are recycling. Among liberals, 73% now recycle, up from 68%. Among conservatives, the number rose to 63% from 61%.
Carat also found that liberals trust newspapers as a source of information while conservatives tend to trust radio and that conservatives like to shop with their families, while liberals prefer to split up. It also found that liberal voters are more likely to bank online, while conservative voters do not think the Internet has impacted their lives.
Carat did its own Consumer Connection Study that included political affiliation as one of its questions.
That study found that Republicans tend to have stronger religious beliefs and conventional points of view than Democrats and independents, Carat said. For example, more than 65% of Republicans strongly agreed with the statement “I believe we were created by God.” Just 15% of the independents and 42% of the Democrats said they felt that way.
Democrats were more worried about global warming than Republicans or independents, the study found. Democrats also were more likely to be interested in organic and healthy food. In fact, 36% of Democrats said they were prepared to pay more for organic food, compared to just 24% of Republicans.
Asked if they agreed with the statement: “I spend quite a lot of money on clothes for myself,” 22% of Democrats they did. Only 15% of the Republicans and 13% of the independents agreed.
Independents and Republicans say they’re more careful with money. Among adults, 38% of those who agreed with the statement “I tend to spend money without thinking” were Democrats, 23% were Republicans and 21% were independents.
And when they were asked whether they agreed with the statement “I am happy with life as it is,” 61% of the Republicans said yes, compared with 53% of the Democrats and independents.
While Carat wasn’t able to predict the outcome of the election, “Based on this analysis we can probably say McCain voters are probably happier, and Obama voters will look stylish.”


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