Saturday, October 25, 2008

Car Choice May Indicate Voting Preference

Does what you drive determine who you will vote for? According to new survey, it might.

According to a Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research study, the brand and segment of car owned by voters is related to their preference in presidential candidates.

Republican Sen. John McCain rates high among domestic and luxury owners, while his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, leads among owners of import vehicles.

Full-size truck owners also tilt toward McCain, while wagon owners favored Obama.

"McCain's appeal among owners of domestics and large trucks and SUVs is right in line with where we see a majority of those vehicles selling -– in the traditionally Republican 'red' states," said Rick Wainschel, senior vice president of marketing and analytics for Kelley Blue Book and "With import and hybrid owners typically favoring Obama, this also aligns with strong sales of these types of vehicles in predominately Democratic 'blue' states."

Among the domestic brands, owners of GMC (61 percent), Chevrolet (60 percent), Buick and Dodge (each at 58 percent), as well as Ford (57 percent) vehicles are the highest in favor of McCain. In the luxury vehicle segment, McCain leads among Lexus, Infinity, BMW, and Lincoln owners at 52 percent each, although I know an attorney who "acts Republican" but swings eccentric liberal Democrat.

Obama leads McCain among owners of import vehicles with the highest ratings for the Mini (70 percent), Subaru (61 percent), and Saab (59 percent). Fifty percent of Honda owners plan on voting for Obama, 10 points higher than McCain.

McCain receives the highest support from full-size truck (66 percent), full-size SUV (61 percent) and luxury SUV (61 percent) owners. Obama leads McCain among luxury station wagon (59 percent), station wagon and sport wagon (55 percent), hatchback (52 percent) and luxury crossover vehicle (52 percent) owners. Among owners of hybrid vehicles, Obama leads McCain 48-39 percent.

The connection between car ownership and Presidential candidates can also be seen in both the Democratic and Republican campaigns. Republican rallies often promote the idea of "drill, baby, drill," which may link gas-guzzling truck and SUV owners to McCain. On the other hand, Obama has stressed the importance of putting more money toward wind, solar, and other alternative forms of energy, which may relate to his popularity among hybrid owners.

Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research also conducted this survey for the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections, and accurately predicted the results. Eight years ago, the survey predicted George W. Bush would take the lead over Al Gore. In 2004, the results revealed Bush would win over Sen. John Kerry.

"Car ownership says a lot about a person, and can even be an indicator who they are likely to vote for," added Wainschel. "If consumers are concerned about the environment, they may choose a more eco-friendly vehicle, like a hybrid, and vote for the candidate with a favorable stance on energy. Consumers' values impact their purchasing decisions and reflect their preferences in political leaders."

The latest study from Kelley Blue Book Marketing Research was conducted Sept. 19-Oct. 8 on among 11,142 vehicle owners planning to vote in the presidential election.


Source: Kelly Blue Book

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