Elon Musk's shifting politics have changed Tesla's customer base.

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Electric car ownership is mostly a left-wing phenomenon. So by making continuous bizarre political statements, Elon Musk has alienated Tesla's traditionally left-leaning customer base — putting the entire automaker in jeopardy.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, new polling from the Strategic Vision market research firm suggests that the proportion of Democrats buying Teslas fell by more than 60 percent last October and November, when Musk's anti-Semitic rhetoric lost X-formerly-Twitter a ton of advertisers.

As you likely recall, Musk's most recent racist shenanigans last August, when he vowed to visit the US-Mexico border to "see what's going on" for himself. Things somehow got worse in November, when he appeared to co-sign a conspiracy theory about Jewish people's supposed "hatred of whites," which landed the social network in deep trouble with its remaining advertisers.

Formerly, as Fortune explains in its reporting on the polling, Democrats had previously made up about 40 percent of Tesla buyers — independents, perhaps unsurprisingly, are disporportionately well-represented among Tesla buyers — but that percentage bottomed out to just 15 percent by the time the company's 2024 models were released in October and November 2023. In California, as the WSJ notes, registrations of new Teslas fell 15 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023, which compared to the 43 percent uptick in registrations during the same time period in 2022 is a startling reversal of fortune.

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While those who've been following Musk's rhetoric have long witnessed his increasing turn towards right-wing edgelord-ism, the escalation of his commentary and the public blowback from it has demonstrated that he's an actual liability to the brand — though apparently, that's only true for a certain bloc of customers.

Indeed, per the company, Tesla did experience an uptick in Republican buyers at the end of 2023, suggesting that the owner's rightward turn might actually be attracting new buyers. Tesla sales among those who identify as independent also rose even more than GOP voters in October and November, from 28 percent to 44 percent of Strategic's 250,000-person New Vehicle Experience survey.

In subsequent polls, the firm found that Tesla recouped some of its Democratic buyer base to 35 percent by the end of February. According to Strategic Vision president Alexander Edwards, that uptick may have come from Musk's relative quiet since in the press since the anti-Semitism debacle.

"This lack of negative press and antics, combined with EV [shoppers] today... shopping various EVs and they find that the Model 3 and Y are still, in their opinion, the best decision based on value," Edwards said.

While that may be true, Musk's bad press paired with a crappy sales year and disastrous Cybertruck rollout clearly has Tesla feeling the burn — and it may have permanently mangled the company's chokehold on the market.

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