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Mustang Convertible Favorite Car of GOP; Dems Prefer Civic Hybrid

Republicans Like Size and Speed, Democrats Efficiency and Safety

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Mitt Romney says he loves driving his Ford Mustang ragtop. It turns out that 's the perfect answer for a guy seeking the Republican nomination.

Strategic Vision's second annual report on the new-vehicle buying preferences of declared Republicans and Democrats (and a few Libertarians, as well as those in the "Other" category) reveals that , among the 38,000 responses collected, Democrats tended to choose smaller cars, while Republicans leaned toward more expensive, "luxurious" sedans and large SUVs. And they apparently adore convertibles -- 69% of Republican like going topless, vs. 18% of Democrats.

"Because this is a significant year -- with a presidential election -- we thought this would have a lot of interest, not only for anecdotal purposes, but potentially for marketing and auto sales," said Christopher Chaney, VP of Strategic Vision. What can car companies learn? "The purpose is not only to sell convertibles to Republicans, but let's look into this and find if there's an opportunity to sell them to Democrats," he said.

Mr. Chaney said he has already been approached by one automaker to discuss the feasibility of doing a similar, proprietary study.

Based on actual purchases among Republicans surveyed, the most popular vehicle overall was the Ford Mustang convertible, followed by the Audi A8 sedan, Mercedes GL-Class, Ford Expedition and Ford F-150 pickup.

Among Democrats, the top picks were the Honda Civic Hybrid, Volvo C30, Nissan Leaf, Acura TSX Sport Wagon and Ford Fiesta. Of Civic Hybrid owners, 61% were identified as Democrats.

President Barack Obama, who sold off a gas-guzzling Chrysler 300C when he started his first presidential campaign, now runs a Ford Escape Hybrid (which probably has very few miles on it).

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