Pizza And Politics

YouGov’s Brand Index finds that Herman Cain’s candidacy has had an impact on how people of different political stripes view Godfather’s Pizza:

Although Cain has not been the CEO for Godfather’s Pizza for 15 years, his prominent association to the brand, which has been replayed in the media since he began his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, has had a definite impact on the political perception of Godfather’s.

Before Cain’s May announcement to run for President, Godfather’s Pizza was on more or less on equal perception tracking with all three parties.

Since then, political party perception of the brand took three distinct routes: it has soared with Republicans, remained neutral for Independents, and trended mildly downward with Democrats.

When the news cycle kicked in about allegations of inappropriate behavior from Cain during his National Restaurant Association tenure, Republican perception of Godfather’s Pizza was not significantly impacted, while perception among Independents and Democrats took sharp drops.

It is kind of odd, considering that Cain didn’t the found the company (something that some people may mistakenly believe) and, as noted, he hasn’t been part of it since the mid-90s. Nonetheless, he has touted his involvement with the firm from the beginning of his candidacy and has probably given Godfather’s Pizza more media attention than it has gotten in years. Indeed, when Cain set up his tent at the Ames Straw Poll in August, one of the things his staff did was bring in a local Godfather’s franchise to cater the event. With Cain’s fortunes falling, one wonders what impact it will end up having on the firm’s reputation as a whole.

To be honest, based on what I’ve heard from people who’ve actually eaten Godfather’s pizza in the last five years or so, Cain may do less damage than the pizza itself.

H/T: Andrew Sullivan

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Economics and Business, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Jeremy says:

    I’ve lived in upstate New York and the DC area and have never seen a Godfather’s Pizza, ever. Is it a southern or western thing?

  2. Again, politics these days is almost entirely about tibal identity. Godfather pizze, for better or for worse, is now part of the Republican tribe, which means all Republicans will pretend it is the best pizza ever and anyone who says it isn’t is attacking them personally. Likewise Democrats will pretend it is the worst pizza ever and anyone who says otherwise is attacking them personally.

  3. Jeremy,

    Southern and Mid-West it seems, the closest one I am aware of near DC is about 4 hours away near the VA/WVA border. They have far fewer franchises than Pizza Hut or Domino’s obviously

  4. Brett says:

    There’s one a couple of miles away from my house. I think I’m going to try it out of curiosity, since the last time I had Godfather’s Pizza was more than ten years ago (and I think I liked it).

  5. matt b says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Democrats will pretend it is the worst pizza…

    You really don’t have to pretend about that… you just need to try a slice — especially in Western NY, where the only place it seems to be available is at Hess Gas Stations. As a general rule of thumb… gas station pizza = not so great.

    (BTW, I would have the same thing to say about Pizza Hut, Domino’s, Papa Johns, etc… it’s pretty hard to think of chain Pizza as good when there are local establishments or the option to make your own.)

  6. PD Shaw says:

    I had it last night; my opinion of Godfather’s has remained unchanged for the last 25 yrs. Unfavorable.

  7. @matt b:

    You really don’t have to pretend about that… you just need to try a slice — especially in Western NY, where the only place it seems to be available is at Hess Gas Stations.

    I haven’t tried it, so I can’t personally comment. But since they’ve managed to stay in business, obviously SOMEBODY out there likes it. And indeed, I doubt it suddenly got 10% worse since the beginning of this year, so there’s also obviously Democrats who liked it before who don’t like it now purely because it’s become a “Republican” pizza.

  8. matt says:

    @PD Shaw: Same dear lord the same….

  9. grumpy realist says:

    God yes. Gas station pizza. If Godfather’s is like that I’ll stick to anything else, thank you very much.

    (Most gas station food is crap, no matter how you slice it. I’ve got seared into my brain the location of every gas station with decent food that I’ve run across driving the interstates. I think there are three so far. One near Des Moines, one on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and one in Upstate NY.)