About Care


From:  Kellyanne Conway
            President and CEO
            the polling companyTM

            Colleen McCullouch
            Research Analyst
            the polling companyTM

Date:  July 20, 2001

Re:      Report of Findings and Data Analysis



the polling companyTM
is pleased to present the results and analysis of several survey questions was commissioned by Southwest Policy Group to add several questions to a nationwide survey of 803 registered voters on behalf of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). The objectives of the study were to:
  • Understand public sentiment towards allowing owners and their mechanics the right to the information concerning auto repairs as stored in the vehicle's computer system;

  • Ascertain the support that exists for prospective federal legislation which would require that all information concerning auto repairs that is stored in the computer be made available to owners and their mechanics; and

  • Gauge the influence this issue has on one's propensity to support or oppose a candidate for office.

The survey was fielded from July 12-15, 2001 at a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) phone facility. The margin of error is 3.5%, meaning that the results obtained would differ by no more than 3.5 percentage points in either direction had the entire population of registered voters been surveyed.

The sample was drawn utilizing a Random Digit Dialing (RDD) method through phone numbers generated by a computer to ensure that every household in the United States had an equal chance to be surveyed.

Sampling controls were employed to ensure that a proportional and representative number of people were interviewed from such demographic groups as age, race, ethnicity, gender, and geographic region.

The survey questions were designed jointly by the polling companyTM and the Southwest Policy Group. Extensive efforts were undertaken to ensure that each question was free from language that could influence a respondent to answer in a particular manner, and informative enough to allow all respondents to offer an opinion on matters that are complex and beyond the grasp of many individuals.

To this end, respondents were read a brief scenario on regulation of automobile computer systems, and then asked to answer three questions. All questions contained an evenly balanced scaled value set, allowing for intensity within the responses.

Key Findings

Registered voters overwhelmingly believe that information contained in an automobile's computer pertaining to repair should be available to the owner and the owner's mechanic, with almost three-quarters (72%) "strongly agreeing."

QUESTION:
As you may or may not know, government regulations require that all 1996 and newer cars be equipped with a computer system that alerts the owner of the vehicle to a mechanical problem. The computer system also helps automotive technicians diagnose and repair the problem.

Currently, only automobile manufacturers and their dealers have access to all the information stored in the vehicle's computer about the mechanical problems, and the parts and repairs needed to fix the problem.

Which of the following comes closest to your own opinion:

Person 1: Only automobile manufacturers and their dealers should have access to the information stored in the computer about mechanical problems and the parts and repairs needed to fix the problem.

Person 2: All vehicle repair and parts information stored in the vehicle's computer should not only be accessible to the manufacturer and their dealers but also be made available to the owner and the automotive technician of the owner's choice.

Do you agree with person 1 or 2? Is that strongly agree or somewhat agree with person 1/2?

9% NET AGREE PERSON 1
6% STRONGLY AGREE PERSON 1
4% SOMEWHAT AGREE PERSON 1

88% NET AGREE PERSON 2
17% SOMEWHAT AGREE PERSON 2
72% STRONGLY AGREE PERSON 2

2% DO NOT KNOW
1 % NEITHER
*% BOTH

With less than one-in-ten (9%) believing that only automobile companies and dealers should have access to the information held in the computer, opposition was minimal and did not mount more than 14% in any of the demographic groups.

Allowing people the right to access information held in automobile computers earns "tripartisan support," as strong majorities of Independents, Republicans and Democrats choose "person 2" over "person 1." Agreement is highest among women with children, mounting 94%, with 80% "strongly agreeing."

A high level of intensity also existed within the agreement, with large majorities "strongly agreeing." In fact, registered voters were more than four times more likely to "strongly agree" than "somewhat agree."

  • In addition to women with children, those most likely to exhibit a high level intensity include people between the ages 35-44 (81%), Independents (79%), the West/Midwestern regions of the country (78%), singles (76%), and those earning between $25,000 to $40,000 or $40,000 to $60,000 a year (75% each).

Not only does this issue garner tremendous agreement, the concept of allowing car owners and their mechanics to have access to the information stored in computer chips also conjures paramount levels of support, with a stifling majority (92%) endorsing such a bill in Congress.

QUESTION:
Thinking a minute about providing all vehicle repair information about mechanical problems and the parts repairs needed to fix the problems, would you support or oppose a bill in Congress that requires auto manufacturers to share all vehicle repair information with the owner of the vehicle, and the owner's mechanic?

92% NET SUPPORT
74% STRONGLY SUPPORT
18% SOMEWHAT SUPPORT

5% NET OPPOSE
2% SOMEWHAT OPPOSE
3% STRONGLY OPPOSE

3% DO NOT KNOW

A mere 5% oppose a bill in Congress that requires auto manufacturers to share all vehicle repair information with the owner of the vehicle and the owner's mechanic, AND, the opposition does not mount more than 8% among any demographic group.

The issue maintains and gains additional "tri-partisan" support, with over 90% of partisan affiliates and Independents siding with it (93% of Democrats, 93% of Independents, and 91 % of Republicans).

  • Also showing high levels of support are those age 18-24 (98%), Independent women (96%) and women with children (95%).

  • Groups that are most likely to exhibit "strong support" include those age 45-54 (78%), Independents (77%), those with some college education (76%), and those living in the West/Midwestern region of the country (76%).

Extending beyond agreement with the concept and support for allowing automobile owners and their mechanics access to the information pertaining to repair that is stored their vehicle's computer, the issue sets itself apart from others that affect large portions of the American population because it possesses a characteristic that forces federal elected representatives to acknowledge the existing problem--the issue wins a great deal of political currency among registered voters.

Political currency is an attribute that transforms a regular issue into one of great importance for legislators and candidates, because their constituencies have indicated that advocacy of a position would increase, or decrease likelihood of casting a ballot in their favor.

In order to effectively determine the degree to which the providing owners with information stored in a vehicle's computer would influence a constituent's vote for a legislator who endorsed such, each respondent was asked the following question:

QUESTION:
And would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress if you knew he or she was in favor of requiring auto manufacturers to share all vehicle repair information with the owner of the vehicle and the owner's mechanic.

WOULD YOU BE MUCH OR SOMEWHAT (MORE/LESS) LIKELY?

72% NET MORE LIKELY
39% MUCH MORE LIKELY
33% SOMEWHAT MORE LIKELY

5% NET LESS LIKELY
2% SOMEWHAT LESS LIKELY
3% MUCH LESS LIKELY

19% NO DIFFERENCE
4% DO NOT KNOW
1% REFUSED

The widespread tendency to offer a "more likely response" is a strong positive indication for the future of legislation that targets this issue. With such a small percentage saying it would deter their support, and less than one-in-five (19%) saying "no difference" legislators and candidates are absent a solid reason for opposing legislation that would allow owners and their mechanics to access the information stored in a vehicle's computer, which currently is only available to the manufacture and its dealers.

Registered voters are more than three times as likely to indicate that endorsement of this issue would have a positive influence for a candidate that supported it than to say it would have "no difference," a testimony to its currency, and a commendable finding for lobbying current and prospective elected officials.

  • Most notably, a plurality of respondents say they would be "much more likely" to support a candidate. for congress if that candidate endorsed the issue, indicating intensity.

  • Groups that are more likely than the general population to support a candidate that is in favor of requiring auto manufacturers to share all vehicle information with the owner of the vehicle and the owner's mechanic include women with children (80%), those with less than a high school education (80%), those with less than a high school education (80%), those earning under 25K, 77%, those in the West/Midwestern region of the country, (76%) and parents (76%).

the polling companyTM/Southwest Policy Group for Care Auto
Report of Findings and Data Analysis
July 20, 2001