August 2008 Poll - Discussion

Psychological Type and Political Affection Ratings

"Birds of a feather flock together." "Likes attract." These cliches reflect the findings of years of research showing people are more positively predisposed to other people who are similar to them. Thus, it seems reasonable to assume that political affection ratings likely will correlate with factors that suggest similarity between the rater and the object rated. For example, we might expect that liberals and Democrats will rate liberals and Democrates more "warmly" than they would conservatives and republicans.

{mosimage}We examined the relationship between political affection ratings and the following variables: type preferences (EI, SN, TF, JP), self-identified ratings of liberal-conservative orientation, party membership (Republican, Democratic, Independent), sex, and age.  We used heirarchical multiple regression with political affection ratings as the dependent variable.  Groups of variables were entered in the following order: (1) type preferences, (2) liberal-conservative self-ratings along with party membership, and (3) age and sex.

Results indicated a significant effect for the SN and TF preferences on the first step. Respondents with S and T preferences rated Rebublicans and conservatives more warmly whereas respondents with N and F preferences rated Democrats and liberals more warmly. No significant relationships were found for the EI and JP preferences.

The SN and TF effects became non-significant, however, when the political orientation variables were included on the second step. Rather, the key (and only) significant predictor of political affections ratings was the liberal-conservative self-identification variable.  Moreover, the partial correlation between political affection ratings and liberal-conservative ratings was .91, a very strong relationship.  As might be expected, higher ratings of oneself as conservative were correlated with respondents rating  conservatives and Republicans more warmly whereas higher ratings of oneself as liberal were correlated with respondents rating liberals and Democrats more warmly.

Age and sex were included in step three.  Results indicated that males, moreso than females, rated conservatives and Republicans more warmly.  Conversely, females, moreso than males, rated liberals and Democrats more warmly.  Results for liberal-conservative self ratings remained strongly significant. (The results for male and females is interesting and accords somewhat with political commentator Chris Matthew's labeling of the Democrat pary as the "mommy" party and the Republican party as the "daddy" party. These characterizations and their relationship to  type and politics are discussed further here. )

In summary, these results generally support results from the previous polls. That is, certain psychological type preferences (SN preferences especially and TF preferences also) seem related to a variety of political orientations when considered in isolation. However, when other variables (other political variables as well as demographic variables) are added to the analyses, the role of psychological type preferences are slight or negligible.  The emerging picture from these polls is that type preferences may influence the development of certain values which lead in varying degrees to various political beliefs, identities, and affections which then influence other political variables such as voting behavior. 

Note: We did not explore the relationship of type preferences and other variables on political affection ratings for the "other" group given the low reliability for the scale. 


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