Supermarket shoppers deliver verdicts on party leaders

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Supermarket shoppers deliver verdicts on party leaders

If politicians were supermarkets, David Cameron would be Waitrose – upmarket and dependable – while Ed Miliband was the most likely to represent Tesco – mainstream but struggling for identity. 

We conducted a survey of 5,000 supermarket shoppers from across the UK, which revealed that shoppers associated the Prime Minister with premium supermarkets, with nearly 50 per cent likening him to Waitrose and 20 per cent to Marks and Spencer.

Labour leader Ed Miliband was somewhat unclear, but was the most likely politician to be seen as a Tesco or an Asda – having mainstream credibility, but with a lack of brand definition. UKIP leader Nigel Farage was seen as the discounter of politicians, polling highest for Iceland, Lidl & Aldi. He’s accessible, disrupts the market, but offers limited variety for some.

Nick Clegg’s position was unclear for many– neither upmarket nor a mainstream player, taking a middle way, where he polled highest for Co-op, Morrisons & Sainsbury’s. Nearly half of respondents didn’t know who Green Party leader Natalie Bennett was, but those who did identified her as closer to the fair-trade community-focused Co-operative. Worthy, but more of a small basket destination.

Our Continuous Shopper Insights dashboard monitors shopper trends on a monthly basis to give an ongoing picture of shopping habits and shoppers’ attitudes. The 5,000+ shoppers questioned provided a bigger sample than most national pollsters, so SBXL managing director Phillip Adcock thought it would be a good opportunity to take a pre-election look at shoppers’ attitudes to political leaders.

“We survey a wide range of shoppers geographically and across the income scale so we thought it was a good opportunity to test the political temperature among shoppers. It is clear that people associate David Cameron with the quality brands, although not representing the mainstream for many people. Ed Miliband is seen as mainstream more than premium, though lack of brand identity could confuse some people,” he said.

“Interestingly Nigel Farage was seen to be as disruptive to politics as the discount supermarkets have been to shopping habits, while Nick Clegg seems to struggle to let people know exactly where he fits in – a bit like Morrisons or Sainsbury’s. Obviously our survey doesn’t indicate voting intentions, but it’s an interesting take on people’s perceptions of politicians,” he added.