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Who is more generous with Friends & Family? Trump or Clinton supporters?

Published October 17, 2016        by Matt

If you support Trump or Clinton, you'd probably use some tough words to describe the other side.  But which one would you call more generous? We analyzed 10,000 orders and discovered interesting differences in how generous Trump Supporters and Clinton supporters are with their own friends and family.

Over the past twelve months, 30,000 people have shopped with us from all over America. We wanted to find out if one side was more generous than the other. We looked at gifts sent from the “most Trump” and “most Clinton” states to see if there were any clues. Boy, were we surprised.

After tallying over 10,000 orders, we discovered Trump leaning states  spend 21% more on gifts to their friends and family.  Which is ironic because Trump states tend to be poorer.  (We adjusted our data for income by state and by buyer since we have an idea of the average income of each of our buyers)  What gives Clinton-ites? We also discovered a few other interesting patterns below.

But first: How did we decide what state is a Trump state or a Clinton state? Most states are rabidly on one side or the other (think California or Alabama). In order to only analyze the strongest Trump and Clinton states, we excluded eight toss-up states.  These states were determined by looking at what Nate Silver, of the website 538, determines as leaning Trump or Clinton. The states leaning strongly in favor of one candidate or the other were defined as Trump states or Clinton states. Sorry, Libertarians!

Copy of US Presidential Election Maps 1996 - 2008 - Google Drawings 2016-10-17 11-34-50


Copy of US Presidential Election Maps 1996 - 2008 - Google Drawings 2016-10-17 11-37-36


Then our data scientists dug into thousands of gift orders. We asked, “Who spends more money?” It turns out that nine of the ten most generous states, as measured by the amount spent per gift, are all Trump states.


Was the opposite true? Yes: seven of the least generous states, when adjusting for incomes, were Clinton states.Clintongifts












That piqued our curiosity, so our data scientists wanted to learn more: What kinds of gifts do Trump states buy? We have over 1,000 gifts in thirty categories, so we wondered whether we’d see any patterns. And we did.

Trump states are HUNGRY

  • Trump states are 2.1x more likely to buy a gift box with fruits and nuts from us than a Clinton state. And when they do, their boxes are twice as big.
  • Trump states buy 50 percent more giant holiday food towers than Clinton states.
  • And they buy 30 percent more food gifts. From sugar cookies, to fruits, to dried nuts, they buy far more food than Clinton states.

But Clinton states have a SWEET TOOTH

  • Clinton states LOVE chocolate. People who live in a Clinton state are 452% more likely to buy chocolate as a gift.
  • Not only do they love chocolates, folks in Clinton states are much more likely to buy caramel than those in Trump states. A person living in a Clinton state is 140 percent more likely to buy caramel than someone living in a Trump state.
  • Rounding out our top three, Clinton states are 135 percent more likely to buy kids’ gifts . . . and not just any kids’ gifts, but “get well” kids’ gifts.

After we discovered that Clinton states are chocolate lovers, we couldn’t stop digging. Was there something different in how they wrote notes to their family and friends? There was!

Turns out Trump states used a few words more often in their gift notes than Clinton states did. Trump states were more likely to use the words “love” (25 percent more likely), “happy” (24 percent more likely), and “celebrate” (35 percent more likely).

Clinton states had other preferred words. They used “Hug” (33 percent more likely), “Happy Birthday” (50 percent more likely), and “Daddy” (148 percent more likely). And yes, there was more than one note that said “Hug Daddy,” but we won’t tell you from which side.

What we learned: It turns out voters don’t just disagree on the main issues like guns and healthcare, they don’t even buy gifts the same way.  Who knew?

Some Data Nerd notes on our methodology:

**We're just one store!  Of course we don't know how every single American thinks.

**We had to exclude Minnesota, (sorry!) because a large number of orders in our data set originated in Minnesota where we have a physical presence)

**This year, some traditionally ‘blue’ states have gone red.  And some ‘red’ states are only mildly red.  So we set a ‘threshold’ defined by Nate Silver’s probability that a state would vote one way or the other, and assigned that state as a “Trump” or “Clinton” state. This threshold of 70% one way or the other as of October 11, 2016.

**We made adjustments for income. This is because according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, folks in California, for example, earn more than folks in Arkansas. We used the BEA’s wage and price deflation data to make adjustments so that a dollar in California would be equal to the spending power of a dollar in Arkansas.

**We chose a simple k-means clustering methodology to assign categorical and continuous variables which led us to develop state and candidate clustering.

Media questions?  Contact [email protected]

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