The headline on the Rasmussen report is 41% Now Say “Buying American” Is Top Factor When Purchasing a Car. If this means that a very large proportion of auto buyers prefer to buy US-built even if it might not be the best deal, it would indicate that many people are patriotic and willing to sacrifice for their country. That would be significant for any reformer, showing that many people are seriously committed to national welfare, and we need only find a way to connect with them.
But when we look at the details of how the survey was done, we find that:
- It uses robocall technology, and covers only those who do not automatically hang up when receiving a robocall. (Pollsters say they make adjustments for age, race, gender, political party, which might help overcome this limitation.)
- It’s not limited to people likely to buy new cars in the near future, nor to people with any interest in or ability to buy any car
- Many of the calls were made on Veterans’ Day, when some people might be in a particularly patriotic mood
- Only 29% of the total respondents think that “buy American” means “buy a car manufactured in the United States.”
Imho the most patriotic thing Americans can do regarding new car purchases is to forego them, buy a bicycle and/or transit pass, and avoid going into debt. (Only 27% of new car buyers pay cash.) The benefits in terms of reduced petroleum dependence outweigh anything from purchasing domestic brands.
Unfortunately, many employers choose locations which are accessible only by automobile, so not everyone has this option. If fewer of us chose to have cars, this problem might be less common.