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Tuesday 27 September 2016
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Does Your Car Choice Predict How You Vote?

Does Your Car Choice Predict How You Vote?

Are Sanders supporters Prius owners? Do Trump fans drive pickups? Are Clinton backers driving beige Camrys? To get a real sense of what America drives and what candidate those car owners support, Car Talk and BestRide polled 10,000 people and asked two simple questions: What car do you drive and what candidate do you hope is elected president?

The survey was posted on CarTalk.com. Just to give you an idea of what a sample size of 10,000 people means, in the latest Quinnipiac College National Poll, the nerds there surveyed about 1,200 people, around 600 each of Republican and Democrat-leaning voters.

10,000 responses is huge, and it starts to tell you some things about car brands, car models and how your car indicates what candidate you might be leaning towards.

Here’s what they found out:
• Toyota Prius owners are 40% more likely to support Hillary Clinton than the general population, which shouldn’t be surprising. The surprise is that Prius owners are 126% more likely to support Ted Cruz than the general population.

• Dodge owners favor Donald Trump 50% more than the general population.

• Whose supporters are the cheapest? Interestingly, the top two winners — or the bottom two, depending on how you look at it — are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Their cars have an average MSRP of $29,545 and $25,770, respectively. Cheapness, it seems, knows no political bounds.

• The candidate whose supporters drive cars with the highest MSRP? The lone Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, whose supporters have cars with an MSRP averaging almost $40,000.

• Jill Stein supporters are also the least likely to drive what most Americans do, with a paucity of Honda Accords, Ford Fusions and Toyota Camrys in their survey answers.

• Clinton fans love brands that are steady performers and not particularly flashy: Toyota, Lexus and Acura. And you’re least likely to find her supporters driving Chevrolets, Fords, and Pontiacs.

• As for Jeb Bush fans, their #1 most disproportionate pick is a Ford Taurus. (Why are we not surprised?)

• The best performing model for Bernie Sanders? No shock here: Honda Fit and Subaru Forester. As for Trump, it’s Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer and Pontiac Grand Prix all the way.

• We also looked at the average EPA-estimated highway fuel mileage. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters are tied at 28.5 miles per gallon. In general, Republican candidates had the lowest fuel mileage average, with Donald Trump supporters coming in with just 23.6 miles per gallon, Carly Fiorina at 24.4, and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz tied at 24.7.

• Among electric car owners, 86% of responses were for a Democrat and 14% were for a Republican.

• Electric car owners are more statistically likely to support a Democrat relative to the general population. They are more likely to support Hillary Clinton than the general population is, and less likely to support Ted Cruz.

• Car brands naturally cluster based on the probabilities that their owners vote for Republicans or Democrats. Two car brands are connected if they are closest to each other in probability space. Clusters of similar cars naturally form. There is a definite truck cluster, luxury cluster, and midsize SUV cluster.

• The most popular car model among Chris Christie supporters is the Mercury Monterey.

• Carly Fiorina supporters are most likely to drive Porsche Boxsters, Ford Mustangs and Suzuki Samurais.

photo credit: bmwblog.com