Two months ago, we published some landmark research on which part of a chicken wing people preferred most. While we are still waiting on news of our Pulitzer Prize nomination for this masterpiece, our crackpot team of scientists have delved into another polarizing chicken wing debate: Blue Cheese or Ranch?

To explore this exciting frontier in consumer research, we polled 1,401 Americans over the age of 13, to see which dipping medium was most popular and among whom. Here’s what we found:


Ranch vs Blue CheeseAs we can see, ranch dressing is a clear winner in the head-to-head battle, grabbing 61% of the popular vote. Blue cheese, believed by wing purists to be the original accompaniment, comes in a distant second, with just 39% of the vote.

So let’s look at who chooses one creamy dip over the other. There are some pretty clear correlations:

First, it’s interesting to note that the numbers don’t vary at all by gender. Men and women, respectively, fall identically in line. But that’s where the demographic similarities end.

Younger respondents clearly favor ranch. 71% of people aged 18-29 side with ranch dressing, as do 65% of people aged 30-34. Blue cheese earns its highest numbers among GenXers, with 45% of people aged 35-54 picking the overall less popular dip.

Nowhere do the numbers break more clearly than those based on household income. Blue cheese popularity spikes among people making over $75,000 in annual income. In fact, people making between $100-125k are evenly split, with a full 50% choosing blue cheese. Conversely, ranch sees its highest numbers among people making less than $25,000 annually – 74% of these people choose ranch. Similarly, we see one major correlation with respondent education. People with only a high school degree or GED choose ranch over blue cheese 74-26.

Slightly counter-intuitive (given the age and income numbers) is the split we see among people with different political persuasions. Republicans are actually far more likely to prefer ranch (66%) compared to Democrats who choose ranch only 55% of the time. Independents look more like Republicans, picking ranch 65% of the time.

And there are a couple groups of consumers out there who choose blue cheese over ranch, absolutely. Sports fans, namely those people who watch more than 5 hours of sports on TV every week, pick blue cheese over ranch 57-43. So, maybe sports bars see a more even division in their inventory.

Finally, when we looked at respondents who have told us they “love to cook,” we found that avid home chefs choose blue cheese over ranch at a rate of 52% to 48%. This would seem to support the purists’ claims about which is the truly gourmand’s chicken wing accompaniment.

Have fun waxing all Nate Silver-like the next time you join your friends for wing night.

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