Evangelical Christian-led fast-food chain Chick-fil-A is now the fourth most popular brand among Republicans, but ranks at the bottom among Democrats, according to an annual index that measures the popularity of brands by party affiliation.
Gaining a score of 61.8, Chick-fil-A for the first time rose to the number 4 spot on the Republicans' top perceived brands list, according to an annual report by consumer research firm YouGov BrandIndex.
The fast food chain recorded the highest gain among all other brands in the list, said the index, which calculated scores ranging from -100 to 100.
Fox News Channel, History Channel and Craftsman were the top three brands before Chick-fil-A among Republicans.
Democrats, on the other hand, gave the food chain a score of -12, sending it down to the 1076th rank out of about 1,100 brands. Chick-fil-A scored 17.6 last year.
Google, Amazon.com, Cheerios and Clorox were the top four brands among Democrats.
This past summer, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy's statements against same-sex marriage led many gay activists and supporters to urge consumers to boycott the chicken sandwich restaurant. Cathy stated that America was "inviting God's judgment" for saying "we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage."
While the chain denied it discriminates against any group of people, assuring it strives to "treat every person with honor, dignity and respect – regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender," Cathy largely stood by his views on homosexuality. As a result, some city mayors and colleges threatened to ban the restaurant from conducting business.
Cathy's company polarized the two sides, as the index shows. Its popularity also went down a little among independents. It ranked 229th.
Overall, Chick-fil-A experienced growth in its business, a separate report shows.
A report by the California-based Sandelman & Associates market research firm shows that the company saw a 2.2 percent increase in visits from customers from July to September.
"Despite protests and predictions that the fast-food chain would be hurt by the publicity, Chick-fil-A appears stronger now," reads a statement by the firm regarding the data from the group's Quick Track Study. "When compared with the same period 2011, Chick-fil-A in Q3 2012 broadened its past-month user base (chain "regulars") in 28 of the 35 U.S. media markets where the fast-food restaurant chain is monitored in Sandelman & Associates' Quick-Track® study."
In their survey of 30,000 fast-food customers, the research group also found that Chick-fil-A's market share was up 0.6 percent and its ad awareness increased by 6.5 percent.