Dr. Helen

When Will They Outlaw Pickup Trucks?

I wondered about this question as I read this article at the NY Post on car ownership  and voting preferences:

When it comes to your political leanings, you are what you drive, according to a new study that says election results can be predicted by the make and models of cars spotted in a particular community.

Stanford University researchers used a computer algorithm to determined whether a neighborhood leaned to the left or right by looking at vehicles in 50 millions of images from Google Street View in 200 American cities.

When sedans outnumbered pickup trucks, there was an 88 percent chance the city would vote Democratic.

In areas with more pickup trucks, the odds switched to 82 percent in favor of Republicans, the researchers concluded.

The researchers cross-checked their predictions against actual Census Bureau data and voting results….

They said their method of surveying neighborhoods could eventually save the government time and money by replacing or supplementing the Census Bureau’s door-to-door approach with compilations of demographic information.

Scott Cleland, a tech blogger who is critical of Google’s privacy protections, worried that the voting data could be misused.

“Once you start sharing and deducing people’s private stuff in a group setting for group purposes, it doesn’t take a genius to see that this could end badly,” said Cleland. “You can imagine the manipulations of a neighborhood.”

Maybe Republicans should start driving sedans just to throw the statistics off and then vote right anyway.