We asked a sample of 1000 YouGov respondents about the influence of politics on their buying habits.  When asked about the various factors influencing their purchasing decisions, just 23% considered the political leanings of a company to be “extremely” or “very” important, far less than factors like price (77%), quality (85%), or convenience (55%).  Just 12% of respondents said they “always” or “often” consider the political leanings of a company in their purchasing decisions. 

Moreover, when asked to identify the political leanings of several companies—Coors, Costco, Domino’s Pizza, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Wendy’s, Hilton, and Marriot—few people had a clue.  Just 11% of respondents correctly guessed Domino’s Pizza leaned Republican, 10% correctly identified Costco as Democratic-leaning, and fewer than 9% thought Wendy’s was Republican-leaning.  Starbucks was the most likely to be correctly identified, with a still-paltry 26% saying it was Democratic-leaning.   According to the Center for Responsive Politics, each of these companies or their owners gave more than 90% of their political donations to one party or the other between 2004 and 2008.

Overall, then, it seems that the lifestyle differences observed by Edsall may reflect not deliberate political consumerism on the part of the public but simple demographic differences in the clientele of various companies.