Although we'll know who the next president will be by tomorrow night (barring any shenanigans from swing states — we're looking at you Florida), we can learn something about each campaign's supporters right now by looking at their cars. Anyone can donate their money and time, but it takes someone special to convert their car into a portable billboard. Fans of both Senator John McCain and Barack Obama have, in some cases, permanently altered their cars in an attempt to sway voters. Below, and just in time for this week's SEMA show, we look at these rolling works of political art (we guess) in order to see what we can glean about their supporters.
The Saturn Mural
This particular Saturn sedan has an incredibly detailed mural dictating all sorts of morals and lessons. The paint on the top clearly indicates a support for gay rights. The background image appears to be a giant of some sort walking around a Florida coastline damaged severely by drilling and, just for good measure, the Saturn's got a message about health care costs tacked on. It's quite the commitment of a newish vehicle and an indicator of just how committed Obama supporters are. [Photo Credit: Flickr] The Be-Stickered Subaru
Rather than invest time and effort into a clever and didactic mural, the owner of this Subaru Forester decided to spare the effort and instead cover the vehicle with as many bumper stickers as could reasonable fit. This vehicle is pro-Obama, though it seems to also be strongly anti-Bush. John McCain may be a maverick, but as this car shows, he doesn't seem to be able to get through to those who've had a problem with the last eight years. [Photo Credit: Flickr] Volvo-Driving Liberals, Indeed
When people picture the cliché "Volvo-driving liberal" we don't imagine they meant Annie and Samantha Woods of the Obama Mobile. The two sisters covered their Volvo with stickers and sold t-shirts and other items out of the back to collect enough money for travel to the Democratic National Convention and back. Of course, one of them does live in San Francisco... [Photo Credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images] Is The Governator In The Tank For Obama?
There's nothing more confusing than a Hummer H1, the largest one the up-for-sale brand ever made, done-up in "Yes We Can" blue and supporting the omnipresent Obama logo. Is Arnold Schwarzenegger, a big fan of the vehicles, secretly supporting the Democratic president? Even if this isn't at all related to the California governor, the site of an Obama Hummer shows his crossover appeal. As far as we can tell, the driver wasn't daring enough to attempt the "no blood for oil" bumper sticker. [Photo Credit: Flickr] McCain-Bush Lincoln Town Car
From what we've observed, Obama-supporting cars tend to be more positive than negative. This bright yellow Lincoln Town Car proves that this isn't always the case. If you look closely, the images on the top of the vehicle are making the "four more years of a Bush term" argument with photos that are half-McCain and half-President Bush. While we can't be 100% sure that this isn't a McCain supporter that sees it the other, this is a net negative for his campaign. [Photo Credit: Flickr]
A Suburban, Of Course
Polls seem to indicate McCain is going to need votes in the more moderate suburban precincts in Philadelphia if he wants to win the state of Pennsylvania and have any hope at coming away with a win in the election. This photo was taken in Arizona so it has no bearing on that region, but it is an indicator that he will do well among people who actually drive a Suburban. Though not as dramatic as some of the Obama cars, it's part of a larger trend of McCain supporters not wanting to damage their vehicles in an irreversible way. [Photo Credit: Flickr] A Tastefully Done Cherokee
This particular Jeep Grand Cherokee is perhaps the most professional-looking job yet. Perhaps the owner makes car wraps? Seriously, we imagine it was a pretty penny to get this custom job done for the rear and sides of the car. Check out the detail on John McCain's head. This owner is putting their money where their mouth is. [Photo Credit: Flickr] Stop The Radicals!
The driver of this GMC Envoy picks up on the "drill now" theme. McCain's strong support for offshore drilling may explain why most vehicles we saw support him were either trucks or SUVs (an observation supported by polling). This particular driver seems to think that Barack Obama is a radical, but only believes it enough to get a couple of small signs printed. [Photo Credit: Flickr] An Oh-So Grand Marquis
Picking up the idea that every politician from Chicago is a crook, the driver of this Mercury seems inclined to make this message with a bit of shoe polish. The vehicle has Florida plates, meaning that this is one more voter firmly in the McCain column. Since the vehicle in question is a Grand Marquis, the official vehicle of old people, we can also assume the driver is elderly and therefore disproportionately more likely to vote (and disproportionately more likely to not understand how voting machines work). [Photo: Flickr] McCain's Answer To The Hummer Of Hope
If Obama can have a Hummer H1 why can't John McCain have a Toyota Prius? Bucking all preconceived notions of who should drive what, this eco-minded driver still supports the Republican enough to drape their car with a McCain flag. The sign also works as a nice heat shield, reducing the driver's need to use air-conditioning when they step into vehicle. Could this be the swing voter McCain's campaign needs? WIll they let the driver hang out with all the Suburbans and Jeeps? [Photo Credit: Flickr]
Though none of this tells us who will win, we can at least say something definitively about those who want to see a certain candidate win. In this informal survey we've turned up far more Obama voters who feel inclined to turn their vehicles, irreversibly, into campaign materials. There are two theories for why this is the case. It could be that Obama supporters are more excited about their prospects and more enthusiastic about seeing things go there way, thus they're more likely to attempt something lit this. Or more likely, McCain supporters have nicer cars. Whatever the reasons behind all this, a lot of people are going to wake up on November 5th and wonder what they're going to do next with their cars.