In light of the widely discussed political divide post the 2016 election, we investigate in this paper whether this divide extends to the preferences of individuals for commercial brands, media sources and nonprofit organizations and how it evolved post the election. Using publicly available social media data of over 150 million Twitter users' brand followerships we establish that commercial brands and organizations are affiliated with the consumers' political ideology. We create a mosaic of brand preferences that are associated with either sides of the political spectrum, which we term preference partisanship, and explore the extent to which the political divide manifests itself also in the daily lives of individuals. Moreover, we identify an increasing polarization in preference partisanship since Donald Trump became President of the United States. Consistent with compensatory consumption theory, we find the increase in polarization post-election is stronger for liberals relative to conservatives. From a brand perspective, we show that brands can affect their degree of the political polarization by taking a political stand. Finally, after coloring brands as conservative or liberal we investigate the systematic differences and commonalities between them. We provide a publicly available API that allows access to our data and results.
Netzer, Oded, Verena Schoenmueller, and Florian Stahl. "Polarized America: From Political Partisanship to Preference Partisanship." Columbia Business School, 2020.
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