Saturday, April 02, 2005

You Are What You Drive, At Least in the Political Sense

The New York Times had an article yesterday that talked about how many brands and types of cars are more heavily driven by one end of the political spectrum than by the other. At least this is according to a recent survey conducted by Scarborough Research, a NYC market research firm.

Unsurprising result: Republicans are much more likely to drive almost every American brand of car. Democrats are much more likely to drive foreign car brands. (Apparently although the Democratic base includes union labor, the rest of the party would rather support lower-paid workers in the United States or workers in other parts of the world.)

Surprising Result: The one American car brand that has more Democratic owners than Republican owners is Pontiac.

Unsurprising Result: The most Republican cars include the Ford F-150 and the Lincoln Town Car while the most Democratic cars included the Toyota Prius and the Infiniti G35.

Surprising Result: Owners of the Mini Cooper were about equally split between Republicans and Democrats. Apparently neither party has a monopoly at being exceedingly pretentious.

Interesting Tid Bit: Democrats are much more likely to express their political opinions via bumper stickers, especially if they own a Saturn, a Honda or a Toyota. Republicans, although less likely to express their political opinions on their cars, are more likely to express them on a pick-up truck.

From the Article:

Some of these differences have more to do with geography than personal politics. Democrats are concentrated in port cities with more links to Europe and Asia, making them more open to foreign car companies. Republicans are more likely to be living in the heartland, where there's room for bigger cars and a tradition of loyalty to the American cars built in nearby factories.

But car buyers are also responding to the political images that come with some cars. Some foreign car companies have marketed cars as environmentally friendly, and some have at times focused on parts of the Democratic base. Saab and Subaru were the first and most visible to aim advertising at gay drivers.

Midsize and large American cars skew Republican, and so, of course, do big American pickup trucks. That may have something to do with American car companies marketing themselves through one of the great symbols of Republicanism, Nascar, which is enormously popular in the red states.

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