Right to Repair

New Poll Finds Americans Overwhelmingly Support Right to Repair

Man's hands holding a small electrical component at a repair cafe.

More than 60 percent of Americans support a new president removing roadblocks to repairing the things they own, according to a new poll. 

In a poll of hundreds of people on potential executive orders for the next president, a right to repair order was only one percent behind a prescription drug cost measure in approval. The repair issue, however, had a significantly lower opposition percentage. Questions on right to repair initiatives garnered the greatest net (approve minus oppose) support of any issue in the poll, including marijuana legalization and clean air initiatives.

“It’s just common-sense. You bought it, you should be able to decide who fixes it. Repair cuts costs and waste,” said Nathan Proctor, director of the right to repair campaign for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. “The fact that Right to Repair had the best poll margin of all the polled ideas further underscores that it’s time to let us fix our stuff. And it’s time for manufacturers to wise up.”’

According to poll data obtained by iFixit, the poll’s question on repair rights garnered 37.9 percent net support, after subtracting the 23.4 percent who opposed. If you remove the “Don’t know” responses, 72.4 percent of people who responded support a right to repair initiative, another top result for the poll. Wider support may be even greater—the poll question starts with “Some Democrats are proposing,” potentially triggering some inherent political opposition.

The January 2020 poll has progressive roots—it was performed by Data for Progress, based on an agenda suggested by American Prospect magazine. But the poll, conducted in the field, asked the general public about 29 different executive orders a new president could sign on the first day of their presidency. The results were weighted to represent the full spectrum of American adults. 

A farm-based right to repair initiative had higher support among Republicans than Democrats, and remarkably high support overall.

The findings are the latest in a series of polls and ballot initiatives that show the Right to Repair movement has strong support across the political spectrum. Ask people if they should be able to fix their things, and a strong majority of them will say yes.

A prior “left right and center” poll by YouGov and Data for Progress showed that a farm-based right to repair initiative had higher support among Republicans than Democrats, and remarkably high (71%) support overall. About 75 percent of Canadians support a right to repair for consumer goods. And the last major right to repair measure to face a true people’s vote saw 84 percent of Massachusetts support an even playing field for car repair.

The full poll question is below. Not everybody polled answered this question—each respondent answered for only three of the 29 initiatives, to prevent survey fatigue. In the poll, the “Democrats supporting” and “Republicans opposing” arguments were flipped at random.

Some Democrats are proposing an executive order to allow for a “right to repair” to give farmers and other consumers full rights over the technology and machinery they purchase, allowing for do-it-yourself repairs of equipment. Currently, many manufacturers restrict who can repair the machinery they produce.

Democrats supporting this executive order say that the current rules unfairly restrict what owners can do with the products they own and force them to pay for expensive repairs they could do themselves.

Republicans opposing this executive order say that customers could hurt their products unintentionally and that this order is an unconstitutional overreach.

Would you support or oppose this executive order?