The trainwreck that is Elon Musk is trashing the Tesla brand. While far from a flood, hashtags like #NoToTesla were close to non-existent a year ago. The data as to Tesla favorability ratings confirms the anecdotal: public perception of Tesla has change dramatically (for the worse) with Musk’s purchase of Twitter and descent into QANON-conspiracy world. And, not surprisingly, the Tesla brand is suffering more significantly in Democratic perception than the overall average (since other data suggests a recent upward tick in Republican perception of Tesla).
- Writ large, Democrats are (much) more favorable to EVs.
- EVs are (much) more available in “blue” regions (blue states and urban areas).
- Many of the arguments for EVs (climate change and pollution) are rejected by (climate-)science denying Republicans.
- Many prominent Republicans, from Trump done, are reality-challenged in their attacks on EVs.
With all of this in hand, one would think (hypothesize) that the Tesla market is predominately, if not exclusively, Democratic in nature. But that is not reality. And, well, this is supposed to be a “reality-based community”.
On the front page right now, Kos’ post Elon Musk is about to learn that liberals—not his new deplorable pals—buy Teslas. While there is much truth (and truthful) in the discussion, the following is a partial truth:
A look at Tesla dealerships confirms that, yes, it’s urban liberal elites buying the cars.
A more truthful sentence would have left out “liberal” as it is rich elites, almost balanced between Republican and Democratic households, buying Teslas.
Data from Strategic Vision, which has surveyed hundreds of thousands of car buyers, shows that since 2019, 38% of Tesla buyers have identified themselves as Democrats, and 30% have said they're Republicans. That's slightly less "liberal" than EV buyers overall, who skew 41% Democratic to 27% Republican.
"Republicans do buy Tesla, especially wealthy ones,"
Simply put, Teslas are (near-)luxury vehicles. The richer you are, the more able and more willing you are to buy (near-)luxury. And, well, the richer you are — writ large — the more likely you are to self-identify (vote) as Republican.
And, if one looks at the general demographics of the areas where Tesla dealers are located (urban areas, generally bluer states), the political affiliation of the communities are bluer than the national average.
Is Musk devastating the Tesla brand with reality-based decent people? Absolutely. Is this already and will it impact Tesla sales? This seems almost certain. Should Tesla’s board be acting? Seems so.
However, is it truthful that looking at the locations of “Tesla dealerships confirms that, yes, it’s urban liberal elites buying the cars”? Well, no.
PS: And, by the way, with the entry of more electric pickups, SUVs, and other large (such as delivery trucks of all sizes) into the market, electric vehicle sales are increasing moving outside “urban elites” marketing.
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