Chick-fil-A's consumer reputation is taking a dive across the country, according to a new poll of fast food eaters, but it remains as popular as ever in the Midwest.
The survey by the marketing firm YouGov found that days after Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy's July 16 interview in which he defended his position to spend millions to oppose same-sex marriage, the restaurant chain's YouGov Brand Index score, an average of polling measuring "quality, impression, value, reputation, satisfaction and willingness to recommend" of adults over 18, dropped dramatically across the country:
YouGov BrandIndex respondents in the South took Chick-Fil-A from an Index score of 80 on July 16th to its current 44. Chick-Fil-A's biggest drop took place in the Northeast, where it went from 76 to 35, a difference of 41 points.
The one holdout was the Midwest, where the interview seemingly helped the chain's brand:
Fast food eaters in the Midwest was the only part of the country which drove Chick-Fil-A's perception higher, moving from a 45 score on July 16th to a 70 two days later, staying elevated, and the dropping back to where it was before the interview was published.
On its face, it seems a bit unusual that the South, the homeland of Chick-fil-A and a more conservative region of the country in general, would be more opposed to the chain than the Midwest. But, hey, the Midwest loves its conservative-leaning chains: Take the Michigan headquartered Domino's Pizza, whose founder's conservative leanings are well known, and the Iowa-based Pizza Ranch chain, famous for its "Christian-oriented mission" and role as a platform for Republican presidential candidates. Needless to say, Mike Huckabee has his work cut out for him as his Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Wednesday seeks to tip the scales in the chain's favor. Keep in mind, it's going head-to-head with Friday's National Same Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A, for what will surely be a battle for hearts, minds, and waffle fries.