• Jul 1, 2009
A new study by RL Polk & Co. shows that the kind of car you drive is tied to the state you live in, and whether that state is traditionally Republican or Democrat-leaning. The study shows that 36 of the 50 United States tie closely to political lines. Red states (Republican) typically buy domestic, while blue states (Democrat) typically skew import.

In states where Democrats won three of the past four elections, imports consist of as much as 60. The paradigm changes slightly in traditionally Democrat states that also produce a lot of cars and trucks. States like Wisconsin and Michigan still prefer domestic products. The three states that have been split over the past four elections also prefer domestic vehicles.

The exact reason for the phenomenon isn't clear, but a quick view of the political map shows that traditional Democrat strongholds are on the east and west coast, where imports are preferred. The center of the country traditionally favors Republicans, especially in the South. That's pickup truck country, and Ford, GM and Chrysler dominate the segment.

[Source: Washington Times | Image: Infovis.net]


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  • 77 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      travisty,

      Your name fits you well.

      Your Ford's ignition cylinder lasted NINE years and you still think it should be replaced for free?? Talk about entitlement mentality!

      And your Honda has been through three transmissions in seven years... and to you they're the "good" company?

      Face it, you just prefer Honda's and look for any excuse to malign domestics. I do think this is typical of import buyers. It's herd mentality, it's cool to drive an import with your crowd, but a person needs a reason to hurt the economy of his own country especially when so many people are out of work, so you look for something like this. I think you can come up with a better reason, this one doesn't make much sense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well said.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And for the record, I don't own a honda, and haven't for the past 10 years or so. So take your little wimpering cries of "fanboyism" elsewhere.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Give me a break. Every company has issues, its whether the company stands behind their product that makes all the difference in the world. When you have something like THIS:

        http://tinyurl.com/m62flc

        and their response is "too bad," it makes me not want to buy from them anymore. And the Focus has ~60k miles. So yes, I ABSOLUTELY think that an ignition cylinder should last 60k miles. I also think that a transmission should last more than 60k miles, and when it doesn't I expect the company that made it to replace it. I'm not entitled to anything beyond the standard manufacturers warranty, but at the same time I appreciate AND WILL GIVE MY BUSINESS TO companies that at the very least fix the problems that they create.

        So if choosing to give my hard earned cash to a company that actually stands behind their product makes me a "hater", fine, I can live with that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is somewhat interesting, but I don't know that it means much.

      1) the UAW is essentially limited to Detroit 3 operations, but union workers as a voting bloc are heavily Democrat (which would explain the Michigan and Wisconsin outliers)

      2) it's interesting that even though "red" states favor domestic vehicles, but it was/is the GOP lawmakers who were ready and willing to kick the Detroit 3 to the curb.

        • 5 Years Ago
        So will a Red State car buyer buy vehicles from two companies that were supported/bailed-out/taken-over by a Blue State president?

        I doubt that a Blue State car buyer will change their vehicle preference to help out their Blue State president.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's the comment I was going to post, I'm glad you wrote it. GOP lawmakers are the biggest hypocrites.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Help, help! The statistics don't fit me!

      The statistics in this case are coincidental, not really useful for any sort of conclusion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ah yes, statistics! The same stats (facts) can be used to argue opposing views or manipulated for any purpose.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yup. Me either.

        A conservative driving two subarus and a miata, in a blue state. Explain that one with your statistics...

        Lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics. :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Being fashionable and with the 'in' crowd are two heavy marketing tactics with both Democrats and imports. So no surprise there's overlap.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you ever seen an advertisement for a domestic pickup truck?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm a conservative in a blue state. Strangely, reliability, practicality, and efficiency are the main reasons I own my vehicles (a 1995 Miata, a 1994 Corvette, and a 1987 GMC Sierra.) Of them, the Corvette is the most practical, the Miata is the most efficient (by a whopping 2 MPG over the Corvette.) and the truck is, apparently, the most reliable (since it's never been unavailable for use a day since I've had it.)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah because domestics all use marketing that's all about being with the out-crowd and being out of fashion? If that were actually true then the most marketing-driven luxury brands like Lincoln and Cadillac would have lost tons of market share and ended up with absolutely awful resale values because that's a terrible marketing strategy.

        Wait a minute, I think you just explained why foreign luxury manufacturers sell a lot more cars then domestics-they apparently market their cars as both being "in" and "fashionable". Simply an amazing idea. Someone call Detroit and let them know.

        Seriously if it's thinking like yours that's behind domestic marketing then that definitely explains why the Lincoln LS managed to end up on the list of cars so worthless that they're worth more money crushed as clunkers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Being built in Spartanburg does not make them domestics if the domestic content is not high enough.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Interpreted another way (correctly):

      Republicans traditionally choose gas-guzzling, obnoxiously large cars, designed (or hoped to) obliterate whatever they hit. They're selfish.

      City dwellers tend to be overwhelmingly Democrat and they have to deal with tough parking issues that Montana residents never do. Of course they're going to choose smaller, more sensible cars, and since no domestic companies many any (at least perhaps until recently), what other choice was there but to buy an import?

      This is all pretty obvious stuff. No great degree of analysis required!

      I would say that this paradigm probably no longer holds though. A lot of people have changed sides. It's hard to know who's who anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does this study take into consideration the Camry being the car with the highest domestic content there is?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was about to say something very similar and then I read your comment. Just because a car is manufactured by a brand originally Japanese doesn't mean it is an import. To be an import it would truly have to be, well, imported. Annoyingly enough, it's becoming harder and harder to find an actual import. Most of Toyota and Honda's lineup for the U.S is also built in the U.S. and use American suppliers. And then people wonder why their quality is incrementally decreasing to be on par with American automakers.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Camry does not actually have the highest domestic content. It is top on the list because it has a high domestic content and is a high-selling car. The Taurus, for example, has a higher domestic content.
      • 5 Years Ago
      3 of our nation's largest metropolitan areas are in Texas.

      Anyway, kind of ironic that the Democrats are generally associated with protectionism and unions, but also most purchase imports.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Even without actually checking sites like wikipedia it is a known fact L.A. and N.Y.C. are the two largest metropolitan cities.
        • 5 Years Ago
        7/1/2007 population estimate

        New York, N.Y. 8,274,527
        Los Angeles, Calif. 3,834,340
        Chicago, Ill. 2,836,658
        Houston, Tex. 2,208,180
        Phoenix, Ariz. 1,552,259
        Philadelphia, Pa. 1,449,634
        San Antonio, Tex. 1,328,984
        San Diego, Calif. 1,266,731
        Dallas, Tex. 1,240,499
        San Jose, Calif. 939,899
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait this is news?

      How about a map of people who eat domestic food to ethnic/foreign food? its all the same. its who the people are and what and who they are exposed to.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Conservative, living in NJ, driving a Chrysler LHS

      When I go to purhcase a new car, I really don't care if domestic / import - I'm going to buy what I want/need.

      Need - large enough for family of 5
      Want - a manual transmission.

      Using the two criteria above, only the "import" brands fit. Sure, the Ford Fusion is available with a manual, but try to find a dealer that stocks one. I would love to buy an "american" car - only because I like their styling. Most "imports" are a little on the bland side, but I'll be lookin' at Mazda 6, Subaru Legacy or Honda Accord becuase they are offering me what I want/need. Chevy: make a manual Malibu and I'll buy it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Sure, the Ford Fusion is available with a manual, but try to find a dealer that stocks one."

        got something against ordering one?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ford Fusion, like most ford products, only offer the manual gearboxes with the economy trim line, and the small engine. A well equipped car is unavailable with a stick.

        And a Fusion isn't exactly roomy for 5 people. In a pinch, perhaps... every day, not so much. Taurus, maybe, but no stick at ALL.

        Even G37 Sport 6-speed might be a tad small for 5 people.

        Good luck with that one... Maybe try the new, bigger '10 Legacy GT 6-speed... I don't like it as well as the 05-09, but it is bigger inside.

        As for domestics that offer a stick... CTS, but no AWD with it. Pontiac G8 GXP, which is good, if 40K for the priviledge of having a stick, and if you can find one of the 5000 or so that get built before Pontiac goes under.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Personally ive noticed ...

      Older people buy toyotas, hondas and buicks

      Younger people buy about 40% domestic and 60%import

      • 5 Years Ago
      Just a sign of intelligence of the import-drivers... :)

      For myself, it's not that I'll *only* shop one manufacturer or one country of origin, but rather that I'll rack up companies that I'll NEVER buy from again. For example, wife's Ford Focus had the ignition cylinder freeze (2000 model) last week. It's a known issue on early model Focuses. It's common enough that they have a TSB out on how to fix it, but they refused to offer a recall or pay for the fix if it's out of warranty.

      As a comparison, my parents Honda Accord (2002 model) has been through 3 transmissions. First was replaced early on, 2nd was replaced after Honda extended the drivetrain warranty to 7/100,000 miles specifically because of the transmission problem, and 3rd was just put in (it fell under the warranty on the 2nd transmission).

      Two companies, two different approaches. One company knew there was a problem, extended the warranty and has done the right thing for the customer. The other said "F you, we know there's a problem but we're not going to do a thing to fix it".

        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry, not to be a jerk, but here is a good example about how things can go the other way. Although the example is Toyota and your vehicle was a Honda, I don't think you can comment anymore about how well the imports are treating their customers as a general statement :)

        http://www.autoblog.com/2009/07/01/toyota-stung-by-possible-prius-headlight-defect/

        Toyota does not want to honor this defect with the HID headlamps which may lead to a class action suite against the company.

        Just wanted to throw that out there :)

        P.S. My '98 Ranger was out of warranty but since it was "Just out" in time (not mileage, I just had to pay labor. Ford covered the cost of the transmission.

        It goes both ways.
        • 5 Years Ago
        So let me get this straight,

        Your Honda dumped 3 transmissions in 8 model years and it is better because they extended the warranty/failed enough to be covered under parts warranty.

        Meanwhile your Ford sucks because it went 10 years on a single part that costs about 1/100th the cost?

        Your math doesn't work for me, and by the way, a TSB doesn't imply a recall and Honda/Toyota/Nissan/BMW/Mercedes/GM/Chrysler, etc all have TSBs on parts that are not recalled and do not have their warranties extended.

        If this is your example of how "intelligent" people buy imports, I shouldn't need to say one thing further, I'll take the domestic that went 10 years on a lock cylinder and was down 1-2 days instead of the import that went (average life of a trans over 8 years with 3 replacements) 2.6 years between major powertrain components and was probably down between 6-10 days in 2 less years.
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