John McCain won the biggest battle of the 2008 electoral war for retail consumers by taking voters who most prefer to shop at Wal-Mart by 17 points. However, that was not nearly enough to overcome Barack Obama's advantage with the most loyal shoppers of other national retailers. That's the bottom line of how shoppers and the U.S. electorate made Obama our 44th President.As Ann Althouse noted, "Are you defined by a store?"
Obama scored big increases over what John Kerry polled in 2004 at JC Penney, Sears, Kohl's and Target. We asked respondents: "If you could only shop at one of the following department stores for the rest of your life, which would you choose?" Using a different measure, weekly shopping at Wal-Mart, we found that Obama did much better than Kerry with that store's most frequent shoppers.
I'm not, but if you use Wal-Mart as a substitute for other identifiers, you get some interesting results like:
If Wal-Mart Shopper=lower middle class and poor people--What does that say about the Democratic party?
If Wal-Mart Shopper=Flyover country voter--this might actually be a good match-up. Wal-Mart is very strong in small town and rural locations, where you don't find a lot of Macy's. These communities also tend to be more conservative and suspcious of big city, coastal elites like Obama (if we are generalizing--it goes both ways). I know Obama is from Chicago--but that is big city.
If Wal-Mart Shopper=cost conscious--as opposed to status conscious, you might have a pretty good point. Wal-Mart shoppers might be frugal for the purpose of being frugal, not necessarily for the purposes of limited income. Frugal in one's personal life might very well translate to the desire for government to be likewise frugal--not something that Democrats are known for. Conversely, it appears that Republicans are as frugal as we thought either.
To be sure, because voters were asked to pick one store, the methodology is somewhat suspect. Among the list that was presented by Zogby, only Wal-Mart and Target could be considered similar stores. Costco would be the only other "general merchandise" store. But I think only Target and Wal-Mart have enough of a national presence to be considered truly national chains. I know Sears has a national presence, but I don't think anywhere near the level of Wal-Mart and Target.