Does Prime Rib Predict the Polls?

As 2007 comes to a close and the 2008 presidential election rapidly approaches, Americans are beginning to gear up for another crazy campaign season. For those who find CNN sponsored Gallup polls and media reports dry and sometimes hard to follow, restaurant blog Urbanspoon has developed a creative new method for predicting election results, one that taps into the power of consumer tastes and Google Trends.

The inventive new prediction system, called the “Steak/Sushi Index,” measures voting trends in cities based on the number of sushi restaurants found in the area compared to the number of steak restaurants in the same radius.

Their hypothesis?

They predicted that residents of urban areas with more sushi restaurants tend to vote Democratic, while cities with a larger number of steakhouses are home to people who vote Republican.

What do you think “highly scientific” experiment revealed?

By comparing the ratio of steak and sushi restaurants in U.S. cities around the US to 2004 election results, the bloggers found a clear relationship between a city’s steak/sushi index and political ideology.

Cities such as San Francisco and New York have greater number of sushi joints, and more people in these cities voted from Democrat John Kerry in the ’04 election.

On the other hand, cities whose residents voted for Republican president George W. Bush—Dallas and Atlanta, for example—have more steakhouses than sushi restaurants.

After discovering this correlation, Urbanspoon used Google Trends (a tool used to track popular search terms) in order to investigate further.

Turns out, searches for “sushi” were down in 2004 when Kerry lost the election, while searches for “steak” were down in 2006 as the Democrats took majority.

Check out Urbanspoon’s posting to see charts and the rest of the data.

And in case you were thinking about the 2008 election, searches for “sushi” are currently on the rise…

Posted in: Creative Strategy, Google, Brand, Audience, Message

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