Over 50 million people tuned in to some form of TV news to watch Barack Obama win reelection last night, 25 percent more than watched the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics on July 28. Anxiously waiting for Rachel Maddow to call Ohio can make you work up quite an appetite, and certainly isn't conducive to cooking breaks, which was good news for one big group: restaurants that deliver.
According to data compiled by online food delivery service GrubHub for The Huffington Post, orders for dinner last night were between 15 and 20 percent higher than they are on most Tuesday nights, across the country. Order volume peaked at 6 p.m. Eastern time, just as the polls closed.
Demand for Election Night eats was especially strong -- more than 25 percent higher than normal -- in the vicinities of New York City, Trenton, N.J. and Hartford, Conn.. Those three were all among the metro areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy last week, so election-watchers were probably especially eager to order in food rather than cooking for the 10th night in a row.
Other regions that saw unusually large order increases included other Northeastern and Midwestern cities like Boston, Chicago and Baltimore and college towns like New Haven, Conn. and Ann Arbor, Mich, all of which are true blue Obama zones.
Despite the larger than normal volume, the actual content of the orders -- size, cuisine -- wasn't anything out of the ordinary.
GrubHub's data crunchers also noticed, via the "Order Instructions" field on their web site, that many of the orders were destined for polling places and campaign offices rather than homes. Here are a few of the comments they found:
"Working election precinct 46." - Chicago
"Please deliver @ 6pm. Location is the Obama Campaign office on Penn Avenue near Center." - Chicago
"call me - the election is on! extra plastic ware please!" - Ithaca
"Dear Cookie Gods, We are watching the election and would love some sustenance. Warm cookies seem like the only suitable sustenance. We await with faith. Love, Cookie Lovers" - Ithaca
"Address is Willow Pass Community Center (the polling station)" - San Francisco
"Call when you are here. Again, if you can, extra tomato sauce and a picture of a kick-ass Obama!" - San Francisco
As impressive as the order lift was, it was outmatched by another event this election season: the debates, which attracted a TV audience slightly larger than last night's returns. According to Politico, delivery volume in Boston rose by a whopping 41 percent the night of the first presidential debate.