Wine vote carries Obama to victory!

Obama beat McCain by 53 – 46 percent in the popular vote. The logic of the electoral college broadened this to a 68 – 32 percent victory. But there’s one core constituency where Obama thrashed McCain by an even wider margin: the wine vote.

Obama took nine of the top ten wine consuming states (Texas, the fourth largest wine market, was red) as well as 17 of the top 20 (Georgia and Arizona are 13th and 14th) using 2006 data on wine consumption from Adams Wine Handbook. Those states alone would have been enough to win the electoral college with 276 electoral votes for Obama. Overall, blue states this year were thirsty for wine, putting back a total of 80.8 percent of all wine consumed in America.

McCain captured nine of the ten states with the lowest consumption (Vermont was blue).

And in case half-bottle sized Vermont raises the question of whether the data per capita (of drinking age) were different, Obama actually took all of the top ten thirstiest states per capita and 18 out of the top 20. McCain took 14 of the bottom 15.

Drink wine, vote Democratic? Forget Joe Six-Pack, this year the path to the White House was through the wine glass.

Finally, and prosaically, Illinois was the number two state (behind much larger California) for Champagne and sparkling wine. I’m sure that figure went up after last Tuesday night.

Total gallons of wine consumed in blue states: 228,563,000 or 80.8 percent of the total. The top twenty wine consuming states roll after the jump.

New York
New Jersey
North Carolina

Fellow wine blogger Jon Bonne crunched the numbers differently, looking at wine production and voting behavior, finding that states producing 99.6% of American wine were blue this year. [SF Chronicle]

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10 Responses to “Wine vote carries Obama to victory!”

  1. I’m glad to have grown up in a state and went to college in another state which all appear high on the list. Kudos to the Joe Sixpack quip, well said.

  2. I’m glad my state of residence (NY) and my home state (Massachusetts) were at or near the top of the 50-state list. And I know I did MY part to assure BO’s victory with my vote, my contributions and my heavy wine drinking.

  3. Interesting…thanks for sharing.

  4. Glad you noted the difference between wine producing and wine consuming states. I thought the same thing last week when I saw the ‘wine states vote Obama’ articles.
    Just goes to prove what I have always assumed, that democrats are smart people and wine drinkers to boot.
    I wonder though, does this help the wineries understand their demographic any better?

  5. Truthfully, the “top 20” list isn’t too far off the beer-vs-wine map we used for our endorsements piece:

    The whole thing definitely begs further questions, though. What’s at the root of this disparity? Is there a correlation between wine consumption per capita and income level? Education level?

    Will the increasing pervasiveness of wine culture make inroads into the red states? And will the increasing viability of the craft beer scene appeal to the same people who have traditionally embraced wine, tipping the balance the other way?

    We all depend on you for the answers, Dr. V.

  6. I would suspect that while a fairly direct correlation between education or income could be drawn, that the most accurate statistic would show urban and rural in correlation with wine consumption. That would also ring pretty true with a red/blue link, acknowledging of course, that all of this is subject to variation. I hesitate to use the word “sophisticated” instead of educated, but perhaps its more appropriate? Funny, because in so many societies wine is customary, traditional, even rustic at times, while here I bet you’d get a pretty different result. I will say though that even small towns, even here in the midwest, now often have a wine shop.
    That said, I am in Kansas City, between a deep red and a sort of bruise purple, but rest assured that I am doing my part to try and lift Missouri up! (Kansas, on the other hand, appears to be a lost cause, and yes, there is something the matter with Kansas)

  7. Michael, that’s a great point. We don’t really have an equivalent of the European concept of “country wine” here, do we?

    Take Italy or France — the “cheap stuff” is whatever local wine doesn’t get bottled and sent overseas. It’s rustic, it’s local, and it’s served with every meal.

    But here, the “cheap stuff” comes in boxes or jugs, is grown in the Central Valley and shipped to you in a truck, and is named after places in France. As for when it’s served… in my house growing up, and I’m sure in many others, the “jug” was only brought out when guests didn’t feel like drinking beer. (Don’t worry, I’m working on my mom and dad. They’re making huge strides.)

  8. I think The Onion broke the story first:



  9. Joe – great find! I hadn’t seen it!

    Jesse – It’s multifactoral to say the least! Further investigation necessary!

  10. […] email, or free monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting!After learning that the wine vote carried Obama to victory, it’s no surprise that wine writers can barely contain the corks from popping until next […]


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