"Every election has its cultural divides," writes David Wasserman of the Washington Post . "In 2012, the campaign might be a contest between these alternate universes of culture and cuisine: Whole Foods Markets and Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores."
Wasserman noted that in 2008, Barack Obama carried "81 percent of counties with a Whole Foods and just 36 percent of counties with a Cracker Barrel."
He also reported on research by the Nielsen Company, which divided zip codes into consumer groups with names like "Young Digerati," "Blue Blood Estates," "Country Squires," and "Shotguns and Pickups." Needless to say, Whole Foods is more common in the first two examples and Cracker Barrel in the second pair. (There are 46 Cracker Barrels in Texas versus seventeen Whole Foods, a company based in Austin.)
This isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff—just a new set of labels for old tropes. As Jordan Ragusa at Rule 22 said, need we be reminded of "NASCAR Dads" and "Soccer Moms"?
"It is really not that hard to figure out," echoes "Merv" at the blog Prairie Pundit , who happens to be based in Washington, Texas. (He does his shopping at the Walmart or H-E-B). "Cracker Barrels tend to be close to where travelers can stop in an eat and get something they recognize. Whole Foods tends to select dense urban locations... the red blue divide is still urban versus rural."
Still, it's fun to play the game. So if President Obama is Whole Foods, does that make Rick Perry Cracker Barrel? And what's Mitt Romney? EatZi's? And all the raw-milk lovers know Ron Paul would be the local farmer's market.