Are you a Red Voter or a ‘Brew’ Voter?

Let's drink to democracy.

Amid the frenzied back and forth over which voter groups will be most important come November, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist shines a new (and amber) light on the issue: Are parts  of the country with a higher density of breweries more likely to vote Democrat?

To answer the question, “Joe Sixpack” created a chart detailing the density of breweries in all 50 states and D.C., color-coding them according to whether they voted for Obama or McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Turns out there is a a visible correlation between states that supported Obama and states with a higher concentration of breweries.

Here is how Sixpack explains his findings. In some cases, where a higher density of breweries equates to a higher population density, Obama performed well because he does well in urban areas. However, other states with a lower population but an abundance of craft breweries—Vermont and Colorado, for example—also went for Obama. In those cases, Sixpack credits the brew vote with putting Obama over the top. And, he says, the reverse is true: States with fewer breweries overwhelmingly voted Republican.

Though his sudsy analysis is not foolproof, Sixpack draws on recent events to support his theory.  He cites the White House’s decision to publish its house beer recipes, as well as the Obama campaign’s decision to have a craft brewer speak on behalf of small business at the Democratic Convention, as evidence that the Democrats are well aware of the importance of the “brew vote.” With many of the swing states above the  median average for breweries per square mile, we’ll soon see  if Sixpack’s theory is worth the pour. This archival essay demonstrates to us that democracy “demands change.” 

Photo credit: Pete Souza/Wikimedia Commons

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest