Conservatives Like Elon Musk But They Aren’t Ready to Buy a Tesla Yet

Elon Musk’s conservative tweets have turned off potential Democrat Tesla buyers, but Republicans aren’t impressed with the cars either.

Billionaire Elon Musk began posting more conservative posts on Twitter after he completed his $44 billion acquisition of the social media company.

His tweets attracted the attention of Republicans and drew more attention to Tesla, the electric vehicle company with a $418 billion market capitalization that Musk operates.

But the CEO’s tweets did not convince members of the GOP to purchase an EV.

Their views on owning an EV within the next 12 months has not changed despite have a more favorable view of Tesla.

Democrats, independents and the general public have maintained the same sentiment, according to data from a brand intelligence firm Morning Consult’s Taking the Temperature poll.

By the end of 2022, only 25% of Republicans said they would think about either purchasing or leasing an EV within the next year, up by only 1% from December 2021.

Members of the GOP showed more interest in buying hybrids – two out of five Republicans said they would consider buying one in the next 12 months, the same percentage who echoed the same sentiment the previous year.

The sentiment among Democrats also increased only slightly from 44% in 2022 from 42% in 2021 who were interested in buying an EV.

The survey was conducted Dec. 28-29, 2022.

Interest in EVs among Republicans rose during the second week of June 2022 when gasoline prices skyrocketed to $5 a gallon. When national gas prices reached that level, 29% of conservatives said they might buy an EV. 

But their sentiment shifted rapidly and only two months later just 16% of Republicans still considered an EV as an option for a purchase.

Republicans had more interest in buying an EV within the next decade than the next 12 months. But their sentiment did not change from 2021 to 2022- only 34% of people agreed. 

Interest in buying a gas-powered car or truck waned slightly and declined by 5 percentage points from 2022 to 2021.  

Tesla Sales Fall Short

Musk’s tweets have not improved sales of Tesla vehicles.

Tesla missed its 2022 delivery target and Musk sharply cut the prices of its two flagship models: the entry-level Model 3 sedan and the Model Y SUV, which constitute 95% of its 2022 deliveries.

The drop in prices range from 7% to 20% and there are two models eligible to benefit from the new U.S. federal tax credit of $7,500.

But Musk’s increasingly strident posts on Twitter are starting to have an impact on Tesla, where he also serves as CEO.

Tesla’s favorability ranking declined by 53.5% during the past year, impacted by Musk’s tweets after he acquired Twitter and took the social media company private.

Only 13.4% of U.S. adults view the electric vehicle manufacturer favorably as of January 2023, according to data from Morning Consult. A year ago 28.4% of U.S. adults had a positive view of the company, whose stock fell by 61.2% during the last year.

The decline was led by Democrats who tend to be fans of EVs, including purchasing Teslas. Only 3% of these adults had a favorable view of Tesla, a rapid decline of 10.3% from December 2022.

Many investors were concerned that Musk focused solely on Twitter after his acquisition in October. The billionaire’s tweets also turned more conservative. His decision to allow previously banned accounts back onto the microblogging site to tweet racist or anti-Semitic comments also pushed both users and advertisers away.

Tesla bull Gary Black said Tesla’s brand has not “taken a hit” despite those concerns.

When Tesla’s favorability dropped, Musk did not continue tweeting conservative stances, he said.

“Elon is a smart guy and learned to stop tweeting more conservative views,” Black said. “You don’t want your brand to be impacted by your more right leaning views especially if your customer franchise is over indexed to climate-friendly Democrats. It annoys them.”

The decline that was recorded by Morning Consult is only temporary, he said in a tweet.

“The drop in $TSLA favorability scores should not be surprising, given Elon’s acquisition of Twitter in October, and Elon’s tendency to express right-leaning political views, which has likely angered many in the Democratic base that have traditionally over-indexed Teslas,” Black tweeted on Jan. 18.

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