August 2008 Poll - Discussion

Type and Liberal-Conservative Orientation

As discussed elsewhere on this site , some research suggests a relationship between S-N preferences and self-identified liberal-conservative political orientation. That is, to the extent that conservative orientations involve preferences for sustaining traditional institutions and a cautious approach to change, then a conservative orientation appears to reflect S preferences. To the extent that liberal orientations involve a preference for change and new possibilities, then a liberal orientation appears to reflect N preferences.

We tested statistically for this possible relationship in the November 2007 Poll, the February 2008 Poll, and the May 2008 Poll.  Results from these polls generally support for the S-N effect in both polls. We also found near-significant effects for the T-F preferences (with Ts more conservative and Fs more liberal).



Intuition (& Feeling?)


Sensing (& Thinking?)


For the results from the August 2008 Poll, we used multiple regression analysis to examine the relationship between liberal-conservative political orientation and the following: (1) the four type preference sets (E-I, S-N, T-F, J-P), (2) party identification (Democratic, Republican, Independent, etc.), and (3) age and sex. We used a step-wise procedure whereby the four type preference sets were entered first followed by the other variables. (This procedure often is referred to as hiearchical multiple regession).

Results indicated a significant effect for the set of type preferences alone and a significant effect when the party identification scores also were added.  The first set of results indicated a significant effect for the S-N preferences (p = .02) and a significant effect (p = .04) for the T-F preferences. E-I preferences also produced a near-sgnificant effect (p = .06). 

When party identification was added, results indicated significant effects for Democrats and Republicans with Democrats reporting a more liberal orientation and Republicans reporting a more conservative orientation. (Interestingly, the variable for Independents showed no relationship.) The results for the psychological type preferences were quite different, however, when assessed in combination with party identification. In this case, neither the S-N preferences nor the T-F preferences remained significant predictors of liberal-conservative political self-identity. Rather, the E-I and J-P preferences were significant with E and J preferences relating to a more conservative orientation whereas I and P preferences related more to a liberal orientation.  These results did not change when age and sex were added in the third step of the analysis. (And, neither age nor sex indicated any signficant relationships with liberal-conservative identity.)

These results continue to support the hypothesis that S-N and T-F preferences are in some degree related to liberal-conservative political self-identity.  However, the influence of the mental functions seems better represented through their associated party identifications. The results for the attitudes/orientations, however, is something of a new finding in the polls.  That Js might express a more conservative orientation seems reasonable to the extent that Js prefer an external world where the theme is "order," a conservative trait.  That Ps might express a more liberal  orientation also seems reasonable to the extent that Ps prefer an external world that is more "flexible" and "open," both liberal traits.  As for the E-I findings, we're at something of a loss to interpret these results. If you have any ideas, please send them along.

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