People Aren't Buying Doughnuts Because the Election Is Stressful
According to Dunkin' Donuts, at least
This year's election will arguably go down in American history as one of the most stressful in the modern era, and Americans are already seeing the effects of the 2016 election drama between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on their psychological and emotional health. Controversial elections can also have an impact on the national's economic health; the uncertainty can depress consumers' outlook and businesses get nervous about potential regulatory changes, which stagnates company growth. And in an election this contentious, those nerves are heightened, and now, according to Dunkin' Donuts, it's having an impact on breakfast.
Yes, according to Dunkin' Donuts, people aren't buying doughnuts because they're worried about the election. The Massachusetts-based chain reported higher-than-expected profits but lower-than-expected revenue for the quarter—and they blamed the shortfall on the election. "According to the company's management, uncertainty over the US presidential election is weighing on consumers and franchisees," explains Business Insider writer Akin Oyedele.
This seems plausible at face value. The election is making basically every American feel terrible, so why wouldn't it have an impact on spending? But there's not really the data to back it up. As Oyedele points out, "Last year, researchers at Princeton and Chicago found that election uncertainty affects consumers' outlook, but not their immediate spending."
All this means is that there's no real reason that being stressed out about politics would lead Americans to buy less doughnuts and coffee—because at the end of the day, consumers don't care about presidential elections even if businesses do (and want to blame bad quarterly results on them). If anything, you'd think this stressful election would be a good excuse to eat more doughnuts, if only to numb the pain for a moment or two.