By a 3-1 radio, Americans consider rideshare drivers to be independent contractors and not employees, according to a landmark Pew Research Center survey.
Pew Research Center conducted a sizable survey of 4,787 American adults in 2016 in order to study the scope and impact of the shared, collaborative and on-demand economy. The survey found that most Americans who were aware of the regulatory debate surrounding these areas of the economy do not consider rideshare drivers to be employees, and believe the government should use a light regulatory touch in this area of the economy.
Assembly Bill 5 (AB5) in California is now requiring companies in the gig economy to reclassify their workers as employees. On the national level, Congressional Democrats are attempting to do the same with the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act).
As noted by Pew, most rideshare users do not consider drivers to be employees. In fact, “66% of ride-hailing users think of the drivers who work for these services as independent contractors, while 23% view them as employees of the app or service.”
Similarly, most users consider these to be companies software companies as opposed to transportation companies.
Here is the Pew Research graph that shows these two results:
As noted by Pew, "the clear preference for a light regulatory approach among partisans in all camps is striking."
In general, ride-hailing users themselves tend to favor the notion (by a two-to-one ratio) that rideshare services should not have to follow the same rules and regulations as taxi operators do.
As Pew Research explains, “Among ride-hailing users who have heard of this debate, 57% believe that these services should not be required to follow the existing regulations that are in place for incumbent providers, while just 27% believe that existing rules and regulations should in fact apply to these new market entrants.” Even among self-identified Democrats, only 30% believed that existing taxi rules and regulations should apply to rideshare companies.