Monday, November 3, 2008

Politics and candy

Yale's Dean Karlin and a group of his students have taken Halloween activities to a whole new level. They decided to see how strong children's political allegiances were by having them choose between getting their candy from an Obama or a McCain stand-up. Here are their results (impressive given the day two turn-around) and here is Emily Bazelon's take in Slate (her children were subjects in the experiment). Apparently, Obama supporters are more likely to take candy hidden in a brown bag than McCain ones but not so much more if they have to switch tables. I wonder whether their candy demand would have been so inelastic had it not been in the midst of such a candy rich environment?

It is hard to tell if this had as much to do with politics or even parental politics than the measure of image as close to Disney ideal -- of which I am pretty sure Obama comes up trumps. In our household, Child No.1 is definitely for Obama but I am pretty sure that she would have gone for the extra candy from McCain.

Also, in the spirit of "you let our kid watch what?" our eldest two have been watching The Colbert Report with me. Despite its M rating it is very family friendly. What has surprised me is that they seem to get it. It took them some time, and I must admit I let it run without commentary or explanation, but they worked out that his extreme support for McCain and Palin was a put on. They seem to laugh at the appropriate bits. This is without any of the background in terms of history and media bias that really underpins the show. They find him funny and are just happy to watch. I guess they are so TV deprived that they will watch anything.