No, it’s not religion. Or politics. What, then?
It’s how you refer to your carbonated beverage.
Ever wanted some real data on how it breaks down? Curious about the percentage of people in your county who say “pop,” “soda,” or “coke”? Wonder no more: you can find it all right here.
For instance, in Johnson County, IA, from 98 responses, 74 said “pop,” 1 said “coke,” 20 said “soda” and 3 reported “other.”
I didn’t see anything reported regarding their methodology, but just looking at the distribution, it looks about right: the “soda” folks on the coasts, “cokes” in the south, “pop” in the midwest (with the smattering of “sodas” in Missouri and Illinois, and “cokes” in Indiana; I don’t know what’s up with those Wisconsin “soda” folks, though). One county in Iowa–Iowa county, as it turns out–also seems largely made up of “soda” folks, but that appears to be due to small sample size: only 5 total for the county, and 3 reported “soda.”
So anyway, if you’re preparing for your next trip and want to impress the locals, be sure to look up the most common usage at your destination–you’ll fit right in. Well, except that funny accent…