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Liberals Do Drink More Lattes, But Not For the Reasons You Think

Summary: A new study reveals more liberal minded people drink more lattes because they are more open to globalization. By contrast, those who support right wing ideologies prefer regular coffee due to their nationalistic tendencies and opposition to what they consider to be ‘foreign products’.

Source: University of Pennsylvania.

The term “latte liberal” has been a popular way to disparage American progressives as uppity and out of touch, but does a person’s coffee preference really say something about his or her political ideology?

According to a new study, it does.

Liberals do drink more lattes, but it’s not because they’re liberals. Liberals, the research finds, drink more lattes–a drink associated with its European origin–because they’re more open to globalization, and conservatives drink fewer lattes because they are generally more nationalistic and opposed to what are seen as “foreign products” of all kinds.

Diana C. Mutz, Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and School of Arts and Sciences, and her co-author Jahnavi S. Rao discuss their findings in a new study, “The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes,” which was recently published in PS: Political Science & Politics.

In surveying 1500 Americans, 1,000 of whom were coffee drinkers, and asking about their coffee preferences, political ideology, household income, gender, zip code, and attitudes toward globalization, the researchers discovered that liberals and conservatives are equally likely to enjoy coffee. They also found that most Americans, regardless of political ideology, prefer regular brewed coffee to lattes. In fact, only 16% of liberals, 11% of moderates, and 9% of conservatives prefer lattes.

In exploring why liberals show a stronger preference for lattes, the researchers considered numerous factors, including the availability of lattes in one’s local area, household income, and gender. Although all of these were predictors of latte drinking, none of them explained the relationship between lattes and liberals. However, latte drinkers’ attitudes toward globalization proved most meaningful in explaining why liberals are more likely to drink lattes.

a cup of latte coffee

In exploring why liberals show a stronger preference for lattes, the researchers considered numerous factors, including the availability of lattes in one’s local area, household income, and gender. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

Coffee drinkers with a more “America first” nationalistic attitude were less likely to choose lattes over regular coffee. The researchers suggest that economic nationalism often leads to rejecting products that seem un-American or foreign.

Despite the fact that a latte purchased in an American coffee shop is produced in America, the Italian name may be leading nationalistic coffee drinkers to avoid the beverage in favor of regular brewed coffee.

The reality, of course, is that all coffee drinkers are engaged in the global economy; with the exception of minor amounts grown in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and California, all coffee is produced outside the U.S. and imported. Ironically, the researchers say, the latte contributes more to the American economy than regular brewed coffee because its high milk content supports the American dairy industry.

Rather than being a symbol of elitism or hypocrisy, drinking lattes, the researchers say, can be seen as an indicator of openness to globalization and willingness to embrace open markets.

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Ashton Yount – University of Pennsylvania
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes” by Diana C. Mutz and Jahnavi S. Rao in PS: Political Science and Politics. Published June 11 2018
doi:10.1017/S1049096518000574

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
University of Pennsylvania “Liberals Do Drink More Lattes, But Not For the Reasons You Think.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 19 June 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/liberal-latte-globalization-9386/>.
University of Pennsylvania (2018, June 19). Liberals Do Drink More Lattes, But Not For the Reasons You Think. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 19, 2018 from http://neurosciencenews.com/liberal-latte-globalization-9386/
University of Pennsylvania “Liberals Do Drink More Lattes, But Not For the Reasons You Think.” http://neurosciencenews.com/liberal-latte-globalization-9386/ (accessed June 19, 2018).

Abstract

The Real Reason Liberals Drink Lattes

Are liberals truly more likely to drink lattes than conservatives? In this study, we first use a representative national survey to address this unanswered question. On confirmation, we examine three hypotheses about why this relationship exists. Our results led to a fundamental reinterpretation of what it means to be a “latte liberal.”

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