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Is Your Car A Republican or Democrat?

What your vehicle tells other people about who you are

By Rich_Maloof Apr 2, 2012 5:31PM

Photo: Knauer/Johnston/Workbook Stock/Getty ImagesWhen General Motors announced they were discontinuing the Hummer brand in February of 2010, Daily Show host Jon Stewart commented that owners of the giant utility vehicle had a problem: now Hummer drivers would have to go door to door to tell people they’re a jerk.

No matter how often we may turn out to be wrong, we do make assumptions about people based on the car they drive. And because we know others do the same, our auto-buying choices are made with some attention to the image we want to convey. According to an owner survey just released, the car you drive provides a clue to whether you vote along Republican or Democratic lines.

The survey culled 38,000 responses from people who had purchased new vehicles in 2011 and 2012. Among the findings:

• Republicans opted for bigger, pricier models, while Dems chose smaller, more affordable ones.

• Republicans accounted for 69% of convertible purchases, and Democrats only 17%.

• Among Republicans, the Ford Mustang convertible was the most popular car, followed by Audi A8, Mercedes GL-Class, Ford Expedition, and Ford F-150. Republicans also favored large SUVs by a wide margin (76%, compared to 5% of Dems).

• Among Democrats the top choice was the Honda Civic Hybrid, followed by the Volvo C30, Nissan Leaf, Acura TSX Sport Wagon, and Ford Fiesta.

• Large SUVs were favored by 76% of Republicans compared to 5% of Democrats

The consumer research group Strategic Vision conducted the survey to provide automakers with helpful marketing data (“If I were selling a convertible, I’d consider buying some air-time on Fox News,” said president Alexander Edwards). From the consumer side, the survey provides a clue into which carefully crafted images we’re buying into -- and who we are. A VP from Strategic Vision told The New York Times that the popularity of convertibles among Republicans indicates a mindset emphasizing freedom and reward. All the top choices by Democrats matched a separate survey on total auto value, indicating an emphasis on practicality.

Automakers are non-partisan when it comes to accepting car payments, but they do cultivate a customer image with extreme caution. Just look at the current crop of commercials. Subaru drivers are outdoorsy and probably have played hacky sack at some point in the past. Honda drivers are smart shoppers. Scion drivers cruise through neon cities, preferably at midnight with the music blasting. Lexus drivers are not always cleanly shaven but always handsome, particularly when glancing in the rear view.

Not everyone chooses a car as a status symbol, and dozens of factors influence any purchase as expensive as a new automobile. But our choices do reveal something about who we are and/or the image we’re comfortable portraying. If you’re the one wearing a red dress to a party, you probably didn’t drive there in a station wagon. If you’re the practical type, you’re not expected to pull up in a checkered MINI Cooper.

Are you immune, or have you bought into a well-crafted media message? And if you’re enjoying the springtime in your new Mustang convertible, can we count on you to vote Republican this fall?

350Comments
Apr 9, 2013 10:14PM
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Some people are eclectic and are not necessarily consistent. People that have a lot of money have more choices than people who don't. Also, Dems are city people and Republicans are more country, which can explain the size and type of vehicle. I don't think that one's politics has anything to do with the type of vehicle. So all you Republicans in the big city, feel free to get a practical Toyota or Honda. Same goes for the working class country Democrats that actually use a pickup truck in their job.
Jul 4, 2012 5:21PM
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If you are a Republican, you should drive a Pinto, b/c they are not put together very well.
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How about those of us driving the only gas hog sportscar version of a Hyundai that has rear wheel drive, 306 horsepower, better brakes than the Porsche Boxster, and F1 shifters on the steering wheel.. what are we most likely to be?

 (he asks knowing full well a string of troll insults are now coming)

Apr 17, 2012 11:00PM
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All of you are idiots. The article is saying that Democrats TEND to buy cheaper cars and Republicans TEND to buy more expensive cars. Just because it does not correctly predict what kind of car you have, does not mean that it is wrong in general.
Apr 17, 2012 9:45PM
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I'm not sure how well this holds up.  I think most in the labor unions vote D and by and large they seem to favor the vehicles deemed "Republican"  (Ever see a Union sticker on a Prius?  Me neither.)

I tend to have Democrat vehicle tastes on a Republican budget :)

I like to spend less than I make, make my own choices regarding charity, rather than being told who I should support, and I think folks need to do more for themselves.

Therefore, anything with an automatic transmission is automatically Democrat, where the rugged individualist freedom loving Republican would own a stick shift car.  (Being personally responsible for choosing the gear, not relying on others to choose the gear for them.)

But then one might say I have Democratic budget because it seems more and more folks think that because I make more money, a higher percentage of my income should be taken from me.

Pretty soon, if both parties don't stop the run away spending, none of us will be able to afford any car, regardless of political affiliation.

Apr 17, 2012 9:16PM
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Very true in my personal experience.  I drive a Honda Fit.  Husband drives an SUV.  Guess what couple cancels each other out at the polls?
Apr 17, 2012 6:42PM
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Let's see!  I drive a 2004 Honda Pilot, a 2001 Chevrolet 2500 HD with a 6.0L that gets 11.5 mpg on the highway and a 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier that gets 20+ mpg in town and 30 on the highway.  Now, where does that put me?  :)  I get what I can afford and/or need and I stay away from marketing!
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