Tesla’s approval rating among consumers seems to be dropping. The downtrend happened this year amidst CEO Elon Musk’s increasingly vocal political statements on social media. Musk’s polarizing political leanings have become apparent following his turbulent takeover of social media company Twitter.
According to a survey by UK-based research firm YouGov, Tesla’s approval rating actually fell pretty quickly. YouGov conducts surveys to test the perception of consumer perceptions of thousands of brands, including Tesla, which has been included on the company’s list since 2016.
YouGov noted that typically, more consumers had an overall positive view of the electric automaker, and this was true until the first half of this year. At the start of 2022, Tesla had a net positive score of 5.9%, and in May, this number peaked at 6.7%. It should be noted that in May, Musk’s Twitter takeover plans have already been made public. By early November, however, Tesla’s approval rating had fallen to -1.4%.
Considering that Tesla’s approval rating peaked this year a month after Musk shared his intentions to purchase Twitter, then it seems safe to assume that the change in the EV maker’s approval rating was not fully due to the CEO’s acquisition of the social media platform. Instead, the reason may very well be political. As noted by The Wall Street Journal, “self-described liberals now view Tesla more negatively than conservatives, though conservatives also have a negative view of the brand on average.”
The same trend was observed by another survey company, Morning Consult, which is based in the USA. Morning Consult’s survey notes that around the end of November, about 38% of Americans had a positive view of Tesla, while 22% viewed the company negatively. At the start of 2022, 43% of Americans viewed Tesla positively, while only 15% had a negative opinion of the company.
A political divide became quite evident in Morning Consult’s surveys. In October, 24.8% of self-described Democrats had a positive view of the electric car manufacturer, but at the end of November, this number had dropped to 10.4%. The opposite trend was observed among Conservatives, with self-described Republicans seeing their perception of Tesla improve from 20% to 26.5% during the same period.
While Tesla is a separate entity from Elon Musk, it is quite difficult to separate the EV maker from its CEO. This was highlighted by Jordan Marlatt, a tech analyst at Morning Consult. “It’s very, very hard to separate the company from the man. He has a lot more critics than he used to,” the analyst said.
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