….AARRGGHH!!! One of my pet peeves are political polls that don’t get at how self-described political identification matches actual opinions: in other words, are some moderates actually like liberals or conservatives and so forth. By way of Matt Yglesias, we find that the Center for American Progress recently polled people in the U.S. by asking them 39 questions about political issues. The respondents were asked to disagree or agree on a scale of 0 – 11.
The study (pdf) is actually pretty thorough. They describe, in tables, how various self-described groups answered classes of questions. But what they didn’t do (or at least report–and if it’s not reported, then nobody knows about it) is any kind of analysis to see whether someone’s self-description actually matches his or her answers. There are all sorts of techniques to do this, but they didn’t do it.
There’s always been a disconnect between how people answer specific questions and gross ideological identification. This has typically helped conservatives. And this study, while providing some suggestive tables and figures, really could have gone to town on the statistics. And they didn’t.
An aside: I took the quiz and scored 335/400, which means I’m a dirty fucking hippie. This also makes me wish that had used standard deviations. More sigh.