Barry McNamara  |   Published January 24, 2016

Cars and candidates

Monmouth College-KBUR poll ties voters to vehicles
The third and final Monmouth College-KBUR radio poll prior to the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus showed a Republican race almost too close to call between Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and businessman Donald Trump.
  Results of the poll, which appeared in a number of national media outlets, showed Cruz with a slim 27 to 25 percent lead among likely Iowa caucus-goers.   But how will the voters get to the caucuses? Could the vehicles they drive provide an indication of the candidate they will support? Both of the previous Monmouth College-KBUR polls featured a pop culture question, and the third one was no different, asking respondents to name their primary vehicle in the household.   No GOP candidate had a stronger vehicle/support ratio than Cruz, who has won over 40 percent of the minivan drivers. Trump had the next two largest blocks of support, receiving 37 percent of the hatchback drivers’ vote and 32 percent from truck drivers.   Among the three Republican candidates battling for third place – retired surgeon Ben Carson (11 percent), Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida (9) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush (7) – Carson leads among coupe drivers (26 percent). Carson, Gov. John Kasich of Ohio and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee are tied for the lead among motorcycle owners (25 percent).   Monmouth College political science lecturer Robin Johnson, who also hosts the show “Talking Politics” on KBUR in Burlington, Iowa, offered one interpretation of the car data.
  “This shows an edge to candidates with more durable vehicles (Cruz and Trump) while those with support among smaller coupes (Carson) could be left on the side of the road if bad weather hits,” he said.    On the Democrat side, sedans (33 percent) and SUVs (22 percent) are the most popular forms of primary transportation, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads in both categories. Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont are tied among coupe drivers and Sanders leads in the other vehicle categories – hatchbacks, minivans, trucks and motorcycles.

Within hours of its release on Jan. 21, several national news sources were referring to the Monmouth College-KBUR poll, including CBS News, the Huffington Post and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. The poll results were also mentioned by Real Clear Politics and Talking Points Memo and, the next day, by the MSNBC show “Morning Joe,” co-hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, and the polling aggregate website, FiveThirtyEight.

The poll was conducted Jan. 18-19 among 687 likely voting Iowa Republicans and 570 likely voting Democrats through live and automated calls by Douglas Fulmer and Associates. The margin of error for the Republican poll is +- 3.7 % and 4.1% for the Democratic poll.   Full poll results: Democratic poll - Republican poll
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