It will come as a shock to no one that 2016 was a year of disruptive political campaigns. That disruption was on continual display for all to see, but what many didn’t witness was the transformation taking place behind the scenes as campaigns around the country began to adopt peer-to-peer services from car rides to lodging.
As a follow-up to our 2014 Uber study, we examined Federal Election Commission (FEC) data for both members of Congress and presidential candidates, and found that four peer-to-peer companies – ridesharing services Uber and Lyft and home sharing companies Airbnb and HomeAway – appeared on campaign expense filings for the 2016 election cycle. Ridesharing accounted for the majority of campaigns’ car travel expenses, and Lyft, Airbnb, and HomeAway all appeared on FEC reports for the first time during the election period.
Ridesharing adoption was the driving force behind the largest increase in congressional car service demand since 2010. Meanwhile, congressional campaigns spent more than $140,000 on Airbnb and HomeAway stays.
The 2016 presidential race exhibited similar trends, with ridesharing accounting for more than three-quarters of all candidate spending on car travel. General election rivals Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton together spent more than $65,000 on sharing economy companies, with Clinton spending more on ridesharing and Trump purchasing more short-term rentals.