Political sides have different dining tastes, poll finds

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There was even a political difference in an imaginary presidential race between Ronald McDonald and the Burger King.

Deficit reduction strategies and government-mandated health care aren't the only issues that fall along party lines.

A new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found that food preferences also polarize Democrats and Republicans. The company called 400 registered voters this month and asked them questions about their fast food, beverage and meal preferences. The poll also asked if consumers would pay more if it meant that restaurant employees would receive health insurance.

For lunch and dinner, 48 percent of the Republicans polled said their favorite fast-food chicken restaurant was Chick-fil-A, whose president, Dan Cathay, has publicly stated the he believes legal marriage is between one man and one woman. According to lesbian gay bisexual transgender advocacy group Equality Matters, Chick-fil-A gave nearly $5 million from 2003 to 2010 to Christian groups that opposed homosexuality.

Only 18 percent of the Democrats polled said Chick-fil-A was their favorite fast-food chicken restaurant. And 39 percent of Democrats said they preferred KFC.

Democrats did not express a distaste for another restaurant whose owner is linked with conservative views: Papa John's.

The pizza chain's founder, John Schnatter, has publicly stated that "Obamacare" costs would make pizza more expensive to make, a cost that the company could pass onto customers. He has also called a system in which franchise owners cut employees' hours below the threshold to get health insurance "common sense."

After Schnatter's comments, the public's perception was that Papa John's would make its pizza more expensive and slash its employees' hours because of Obamacare.  Its brand perception rating took a beating following Schnatter's comments in a YouGov BrandIndex survey.

In the Public Policy poll, Papa John's was the favorite pizza restaurant for 17 percent of both parties. However, most Democrats and Republicans favored Pizza Hut.

When asked about health insurance, 72 percent of Democrats said they would pay more for their food if it meant restaurant employees would receive health insurance. Nineteen percent of polled Democrats said they would not.

On the Republican side, 41 percent of those asked said they would shell out a little extra so employees could obtain health care, while 38 percent said they would not.

After posing questions about obesity and vegetarians, Public Policy got down to the questions Americans really need answered: What members of each party thought about Olive Garden, and who they would pick in a presidential race between Ronald McDonald and the Burger King.

It turns out the two sides are nearly split on if they feel the Olive Garden is a "quality source of authentic ethnic food."

And Ronald McDonald, the guy dressed like a clown, would get the most votes from both Republicans and Democrats.

The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 4.4 percent.

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