Can Your Car Reflect Your Political Views?

I’ve been asked this before, but most are wary not to discuss politics with coworkers or people you just met. But your vehicle could be making the statement for you. As it turns out, what they drive could also hint at their political leanings. 

This is obviously not true for everyone but the conversation has started and an unscientific survey shows some distinct trends related to the types of cars voters drive.  The informal survey, conducted on the U.S. News automotive site in February, garnered over 500 responses.  Respondents identified as 45 percent Democrat and 42 percent Republican, with 13 percent identifying as unaffiliated or Independent. 

No matter your political mindset, the survey shows that sedans and coupes are far and away the most popular type of car in both parties. Half of Democrats drive sedans and coupes, along with over one-third of Republicans. The two groups differ on pickup trucks, which have become the de facto automotive symbol of red states: In the survey, 15 percent of Republicans drive them, compared with just over 3 percent of Democrats. 

According to the survey, if there’s a hatchback driving in front of you, odds are there’s a Democrat behind the wheel. Of course, any bumper stickers will help you know how they voted too. Among respondents, Democrats were 4 times more likely than Republicans to say they drive a hatchback.  In politics, it’s not just Red versus Blue, its seems like it’s the Ford F-150 against a Nissan Leaf. 

For all voters from all parties, their purchase of a minivan is more similar than different. Minivans are polarizing for some drivers, equally loved or hated.

It may not surprise you that the survey found import cars to be a more popular choice among Democrats than Republicans, with 71% of Democrats claiming to drive one. But another piece of data may be a surprise is that imports outnumbered domestics even among the Republicans, where about 57% claimed to drive one.  In the survey, Republicans endorsed Ford and GM cars by almost a two-to-one margin compared with Democrats, who preferred Honda and Toyota vehicles. Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands were common ground for all parties, voters on all sides equally likely to own one.

The survey showed that higher priced premium vehicles show some interesting differences. More Democrats chose Acura, while Republicans preferred Lexus. Republicans were also slightly more likely than Democrats to drive German cars.  Within the German brands, Republicans reported being partial to BMW and Porsche, while Democrats were more likely to choose Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen.

What about electric cars? EVs have become the latest culture war between Republicans and Democrats. As the presidential election nears, Biden is pushing heavily for their adoption of all electric cars and Trump is promising a regulatory restrictions to block mandates on all-electric cars and protect American auto workers. EVs have fewer moving parts, so they require less work to build and maintain. This has thrown electric cars into the political debate. 

Today, there are about 4.5 million plug-in hybrids and EVs on American roads, representing about 10% of all vehicles. About one-third of all EVs are in California. The survey found that all parties showed interest in electric and hybrid cars and the types and models we discussed is the real difference. Tesla’s are sold to all parties as well.

No matter what you drive, the election is coming up in November and we hope you’ll vote.

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