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January 12, 2014

Does Your Personality Explain Your Politics?

An interesting quiz:

Social scientists find many questions about values and lifestyle that have no obvious connection to politics can be used to predict a person’s ideology. Even a decision as trivial as which browser you’re using to read this article is imbued with clues about your personality. Are you on a Mac or PC? Did you use the default program that came with the computer or install a new one?

In the following interactive, we put together 12 questions that have a statistical correlation to a person’s political leanings, even if the questions themselves are seemingly apolitical. At the end of this (completely anonymous) quiz, we’ll use your responses to guess your politics.

The Princess's results are below the fold (spoiler alert - take the test before reading!).-

political_personality.png

Interestingly, the Spousal Unit came up only +2 points in the conservative direction. If anything, the quiz probably overstates my conservative chops.

Feel free to amaze and confuse us with your results in the comments section.

Posted by Cassandra at January 12, 2014 04:09 PM

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Comments

I came up slightly more conservative than you. However, I'm not so sure about their methodology wrt their questions. Level of neatness of my desk suggests I'm a liberal and not just messy or momentarily disorganized? Conservatives don't like *fusion* cuisine? (What the hell is that, anyway?) Liberals aren't proud of their country? C'mon, man! And, my personal nit for this test, my choice for visiting NY wasn't part of the question. I will avoid NY like the plague given the option -- actually, even if I don't have an option, I'll make an option to avoid it like the plague. There's not a damn thing in that city that interests me in the slightest. I'll stay here in my mountains where the air is crisp and clean, the people are few and far between and the *skyscrapers* really do.
0>;~}
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at January 12, 2014 05:05 PM

82% conservative according to the poll, but I also question the strength of correlation for these questions.
In my experience, people can and do vary in political philosophy between social issues and fiscal issues and federalism issues.

Posted by: CAPT Mike at January 12, 2014 06:10 PM

I think they only claimed a 60% correlation, which is stronger than chance but hardly dispositive.

Still, it's a thought I've had many times - that personality partly explains political affiliation. Haidt uses a metaphor I really like - morality is like an equalizer in a sound system. So the values people put on various moral dimensions matter, as do the number of things they consider moral dimensions.

Liberals rely almost exclusively on harm/care and fairness when making moral decisions. Conservatives have a far more complex moral compass that considers things like harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, authority, ingroup loyalty, and... I forget them all.

He recently added liberty to the moral matrix.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 12, 2014 07:54 PM

"Conservatives don't like *fusion* cuisine? (What the hell is that, anyway?)"

It's "food that combines elements of different culinary traditions." Which, to me, raises two questions:

1) Considering how supposedly little the American version of most ethnic cuisines resembles that of the parent country, shouldn't that make most American food fusion cuisine by default? Or is that only if you fry it?

2) Shouldn't fusion cuisine count as (gasp!) cultural appropriation on somebody's part, anyway, and thus something liberals are contractually obligated to loathe? :)

Posted by: Matt at January 12, 2014 10:32 PM

Wow, the Princess and I must be long-lost twins since our answers were the same...

Posted by: yak at January 12, 2014 10:53 PM

Shouldn't fusion cuisine count as (gasp!) cultural appropriation on somebody's part, anyway, and thus something liberals are contractually obligated to loathe? :)

Matt, you ignorant manslut! Don't you know that when progressives embrace the cultural artifacts of The Other, that shows their vastly more enlightened tradition of tolerance and openness to experience! But when conservatives do exactly.the. same.thing, that shows they are insensitive and arrogant - just another from of Othering :p

It's all in the interpretation. Sheesh.

Posted by: Cass at January 13, 2014 08:32 AM

In my experience, people can and do vary in political philosophy between social issues and fiscal issues and federalism issues.

I do think some of the examples were ambiguous, Mike. I can easily see where conservatives and liberals might arrive at the same answers for completely different reasons.

On the weighting thing, they appear to have given massive weight to the porn question. I ran the quiz twice with all the same answers EXCEPT that one (I answered it strongly agree once and strongly disagree the other). If I said I was OK with it, I came out 23% conservative. If I said I wasn't OK with it, I came out 66% conservative.

Pretty big swing for one question, but that may be because the rest of the responses were pretty evenly split and that was the tie breaker.

Somewhat amusingly, if you say "OK", the summary states something like, "It's fine with you if your partner watches it alone". If you say "Not OK", you get "You *don't* think your partner shouldn't be watching it alone"...

Dr. Freud, your slip is showing :p

Posted by: Cass at January 13, 2014 08:52 AM

I thought it was J. Edgar who wore the dress...
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at January 13, 2014 03:03 PM

Wow, the Princess and I must be long-lost twins since our answers were the same...

Nice to know I'm not alone :)

Posted by: Cass at January 13, 2014 05:14 PM

A little less conservative than the Blog Princess; I had all of the "liberal" things, and only differed on the porn question. Some of our levels appear to have been slightly different.


So why am I considered a screaming conservative, except by people my age, who say I'm so liberal I'm conservative?

Posted by: htom at January 13, 2014 09:15 PM

So why am I considered a screaming conservative, except by people my age, who say I'm so liberal I'm conservative?

Too funny :p

Before he took the quiz I asked the spousal unit how he would describe himself, and he said, "Fiscally conservative, socially moderate - probably moderately conservative. But that's only in comparison to today's conservatism. In the 80s, I would have said very conservative in comparison to Reagan-era conservatives."

There's a lot of uncomfortable truth there. Filthy, rotten no-good RINOs...

Posted by: Cass at January 14, 2014 07:11 AM

I have a long rant about the R ... some other day.


My best friend says I'm merely out of my time, when I'm not to the right of Genghis Khan I would have fit very well into the politics of the American Revolution -- and I should have a blog titled "Missives from a Tea-Tossing Liberal".

Posted by: htom at January 14, 2014 12:49 PM

OK, 70 "conservative."

But I am annoyed by the interpretation of the answers as being only the extreme. EG "You think the government should treat the lives of its citizens as much more valuable than those of other countries" is not my answer, which was actually "slightly," No weighting, all one or the other. Same thing with "kids should respect authority." Not always, Time, and never without questioning its validity and usage.

Is this the picking of nits? Well, that can be worthwhile...

Posted by: John A at January 14, 2014 02:12 PM

Not to nit-pick w/ the Blog Princess, but
'ignorant manslut'
is doubly redundant . . . :)

Heck we're *proud* of it!

Posted by: CAPT Mike at January 14, 2014 03:46 PM

:)

Posted by: Cass at January 14, 2014 10:27 PM

74% C, 26% L

==============================
Liberal qualities
You like cats more than dogs
You have a messy desk
You like fusion cuisine
You think it's okay for your partner to look at porn alone
You use a modern browser

Conservative qualities
You prefer action movies to documentaries
You think kids should respect authority
You think self-control trumps self-expression
You think the government should treat the lives of its citizens as much more valuable than those of other countries
You think the world benefits from nations and borders
You prefer Times Square to the Met
You're proud of your country's history

Posted by: OBloodyHell, Yeah, lost your link... at January 16, 2014 04:56 PM

My answers were almost identical to Cassandra's--just like htom's, apparently. And yet a 7-5 conservative score makes me a very strong conservative.

The quiz doesn't seem to pay much attention to the strength of agreement or disagreement, after going to the trouble of giving us a spectrum to choose from. On several of those questions, I'd have chosen "neutral" if I'd been able, since the context is everything (self-control vs. self-expression; children's respect for authority, etc.). Or how about the government's heightened concern for its own citizens' lives? If that means tending to its own knitting, I register a strong "agree." If that means treating the lives of other nations' citizens as dirt whenever it's convenient, I register a strong "disagree." Or take the movie question: I'm on the fence between a nice shoot-em-up and a documentary, depending on how good the offered example of each looks.

This guy is all about moral and political nuances, but he can't seem to express any that are relevant to conservatives or libertarians, or even to people who think morality means more than broad-minded tolerance and generosity. It's interesting that he included a "libertarian" button, but I think he's still stuck in the idea that "conservative" means a rigid person who's terrified of change and ambiguity.

Posted by: Texan99 at January 18, 2014 12:07 PM

This guy is all about moral and political nuances, but he can't seem to express any that are relevant to conservatives or libertarians, or even to people who think morality means more than broad-minded tolerance and generosity. It's interesting that he included a "libertarian" button, but I think he's still stuck in the idea that "conservative" means a rigid person who's terrified of change and ambiguity.

I think maybe it's so hard to understand people who think differently from you that even when you're doing your best, you still fall short.

I have a hard time keeping my personal bias out of describing progressive ideas (hard not to editorialize when you're describing, or to shade things in such a way that you're not subtly undermining the ideas). I think it might have been you, Tex, who once said that you know you're being fair when you can describe the opposition's ideas in a way they wouldn't object to?

Or maybe it was that this means you actually understand their ideas? I can't recall.

Anyway, that's very hard for me to do.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 19, 2014 10:21 AM

68/32 conservative.

I find that if I take one of the "issues" tests, I tend to come out ranked by whatever name they choose to give to right-wing extremists. My personality, however, doesn't fit that notion of extremism at all.

It just happens to be that conservatives are right on most of the policy issues, and most of the social issues as well. That seems to be true for reasons of generations-long-experience, because almost no conservative politicians can give a good account of why these positions are the right ones. They don't really have to understand why they work, and mostly they don't (and sometimes they give cockamamie made-up answers that end up offending people).

Nevertheless, experience shows the ideas do work and they are right. They're more in accord with human nature, even if you can't give a Socratic account of just what human nature is and why it is that way.

Posted by: Grim at January 19, 2014 11:22 AM

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