Political

How peanut butter could determine the general election result

Lovers of peanut butter could be crucial to the outcome of this May’s general election. In key knife-edge marginal constituencies around the country, consumers of the foodstuff that was first patented in the 19th century but has roots back to the Aztecs are on the electoral register in larger numbers than the sitting MP’s majority.

What is more, anecdotally large numbers of peanut butter fans featured in the surge in electoral registration numbers that took place on 5 February, National Voter Registration Day 2015.

With political parties increasingly targeting their political campaigning and messaging using sophisticated databases of consumer behaviour, campaign chiefs will be singling out peanut butter consumers with unprecedented precision. Some pundits are even speculating that in a bid to woo the peanut butter vote, George Osborne will spurn the traditional glass of “water” during his Budget speech next month for a peanut butter sandwich.

“It isn’t just the act of buying peanut butter that matters. Our polling data shows a strong correlation between preference for organic, crunchy or smooth peanut party and party allegiance. Loves of organic peanut butter voted heavily for the Liberal Democrat in 2010 but now many have switched to the Greens, SNP or undecided. The Conservatives, however, continue to do best with those who prefer smooth,” said Professor Tobias Abraham of the British Peanut Study.

However, there are growing concerns about a possible privacy backlash over such targeting. “Political parties may think it’s clever to target adverts based on your shopping experience, but many voters will be disturbed if a ‘Vote for X’ ad pops up on their mobile phone just after they’ve picked up a peanut butter jar in the supermarket,” said Nick Nut of Big Peanut Watch.

British politicians will, however, be hoping to do better than the most famous political lover of peanut butter so far. American President and peanut farmer Jimmy Carter went down to defeat in the 1980 US Presidential Election. British politicians will be hoping to do better.

With apologies to the BBC and far, far too many other media outlets.

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