By Harris Interactive
NEW YORK , N.Y. - August 10, 2011 - Ah, ice cream. Few treats conjure up a summer day memory as much as a dripping ice cream cone or digging into a sundae after a long day at the beach. But which flavor is always the big debate. Who doesn't remember standing in front of the counter agonized over that ever important decision? Well, for Americans, chocolate is the way to go as over one-quarter (28%) say it is one of their two favorite ice cream flavors followed by vanilla (26%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (22%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,183 adults surveyed online between July 11 and 18, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Different groups have their different favorite flavors. For example, three in ten Easterners (31%) and Midwesterners (32%) say chocolate is their favorite while three in ten Southerners (30%) prefer vanilla. Westerners have a close race for top flavor with 22% saying vanilla, 21% saying chocolate and 19% saying cookie dough/cookies and cream and rocky road.

Forget the debt ceiling - there are also political differences in ice cream flavors! One-third of Republicans say chocolate is their favorite flavor (32%) followed by vanilla (28%) and cookie dough/cookies and cream (24%). One-quarter of Democrats, on the other hand, say vanilla is their favorite (26%) followed by chocolate (23%) and then butter pecan/Swiss almond (22%). For Independents, it is chocolate first (30%) followed by cookie dough/cookies and cream (24%) and then vanilla (22%).

How do you want that?

So, once the flavor is chosen, then it's how to eat the ice cream. More than two in five Americans (44%) say their favorite way to eat ice cream is in a cup, followed by cone (30%), sundae (16%), and sandwich (2%) while 7% say their favorite way is something else. Men are slightly more likely than women to prefer cups (46% versus 42%) and sundaes (17% versus 15%). Women, however, are more likely to say their favorite way to eat ice cream is in a cone (34% versus 26%).

And, any toppings?

So the flavor is chosen and the method of eating the ice cream is set. Now there is one more major decision to make - the toppings! Over half of Americans (52%) say hot fudge is their favorite toppings for ice cream followed by two in five who say nuts (38%) and caramel (38%). Over one-third cite whipped cream as their favorite topping (36%) followed by fruit such as strawberries or bananas (31%), sprinkles (19%), candy bits (15%), and marshmallow (11%). One in five U.S. adults (19%) are purists and prefer to eat their ice cream plain.

So What?

Summer is a time of fun. It's a time of vacations and doing things that may not happen again until sometime next summer. Whether it was the magical sounds of the ice cream truck coming through the neighborhood or stopping for a soft serve cone after a day at the beach, for many people there is some type of memory from their childhood that involves a yummy frozen treat.



This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between July 11 to 18, 2011 among 2,183 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.
SOURCE: Harris Interactive