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Expand chart
Data: Survey Monkey poll conducted May 22-24, 2018. Poll methodology; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Fourteen percent of U.S. adults say they're either "extremely" or "very" likely to go electric with their next car purchase or lease, while a combined 62% said they would probably steer clear, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll. Another 23 percent said they were "somewhat likely" to get an electric car.

Why it matters: Even though most of the public is still wary of electric cars, the findings actually show that electric car sales have room to grow massively in the U.S. — because even the small percentages of people who say they're interested suggest a market far bigger than the people who buy electric vehicles now.

One level deeper: Sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars in the U.S. last year were close to 200,000 combined. That's a little more than 1 percent of the country's roughly 17 million auto sales.

That means if the preferences revealed in the survey begin translating into actual consumer behavior in coming years, sales that are already growing are poised to expand greatly.

  • “Those numbers actually tell us that, given the level of education of the market as it is now, there is still quite a lot of space to grow for electrification,” Bloomberg New Energy Finance analyst Salim Morsy tells Axios.

Yes, but: There are still plenty of factors that can prevent pro-electric consumers from making the leap, including limits on vehicle availability in some regions, the number of models to choose from and many other factors that influence decisions.

The poll also reveals several other views about electric vehicles. A few takeaways:

  • Among the people who might go electric with their next vehicle, 73 percent of respondents selected environmental benefits as one of the reasons and 72 percent cited savings on gasoline.
  • Thirty-six percent said the convenience of home charging could be a reason to buy electric.

The catch: 15 percent of respondents likely to purchase an electric vehicle would like to be able to drive 300 miles before re-charging, and 40 percent would like to go 350 miles.

  • That signals a potential hurdle to widespread consumer adoption of pure electrics, because vehicles priced for the mass-market don't go that far.
  • For instance, the base model Nissan Leaf has a 150-mile range, the Chevy Bolt is listed at 238 miles, and the base model Tesla Model 3 — which is not yet available — has a 220-mile range.

Methodology: This Axios/SurveyMonkey online poll was conducted May 22-24, 2018 among 2,586 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is 3 percentage points. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day.

Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. Crosstabs available here.

Go deeper

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.

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