February 2008 Poll - Discussion


Welcome to the discussion of results from the February 2008 Type & Politics Poll. The discussion presented here provides a more in-depth look at the results from the poll.

This section presents the following:

  • Responses to the Type & Politics Poll are compared with the national averages calculated by realclearpolitics.com.
  • Summary results from statistical analyses of poll responses are presented and discussed.

If you would like to view the "raw results" from the poll, simply click on the " 2/08 Results" link to the left.

Click on "Next" (below) to start viewing the discussion.

Poll Overview - February 2008

The second round of the Type & Politics Poll was conducted during the first full week of February 2008. Approximately 280 e-mails were sent to people who registered to participate in the Poll. Approximately 70 students in undergraduate and graduate business classes (who had completed the MBTI and received an interpretation) also were invited to participate voluntarily in the Poll. The Poll also was open to any visitor to the website during this time.

One hundred eleven people completed the poll. The majority of these respondents indicated preferences for I (51%), N (70%), T (54%), and J (54%). The average age of respondents was 44 years and the majority (52%) were female. Ninety-six percent of the responses came from U.S. citizens. The political affiliations of the who indicated this information was: 44% Democrat, 31% Independent, and 21% Republican. With respect to MBTI experience, 49% indicated they were members (or had been members) of an APT association and 53% indicated they were MBTI qualified. Ninety-eight percent indicated they were at least moderately confident that their reported type was their best-fit type.

Approval Ratings for U.S.

As show in the following three graphs, poll respondents gave significantly lower approval ratings to President Bush and Congress than were given by national samples. The poll respondents also were less likely to indicate the country was headed in the right direction.

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Note: Results shown are for all poll respondents indicating U.S. Citizenship (n = 106).

Preferences for Presidential Candidates: Poll Responses Compared with National Averages

Participants in the Type & Politics Poll expressed similar preferences for presidential candidates when compared with national averages.


November 2007 Poll participants who indicated they were registered democrats (n = 197) expressed very similar preferences for presidential candidates when compared with national averages.


February 2008 Poll participants who indicated they were registered democrats (n = 54) expressed very similar preferences for presidential candidates when compared with national averages. Note: Results for Edwards are no longer reported in national polls.


November Poll participants who indicated they were registered republicans (n = 64) expressed very similar preferences for presidential candidates when compared with national averages. Preferences for Romney, however, seem somewhat lower than the national average.

February Poll participants who indicated they were registered republicans (n = 22) expressed very similar preferences for presidential candidates when compared with national averages. The 3 votes for Obama, however, indicate a slight emergence of "Obamicans".


Note: Of the 84 participants in the November 2007 Poll who indicated they were registered as "Other," or were not registered but planned to register, the following candidates were preferred: Obama (26%), Clinton (14%), Edwards (10%), and Don't Know (23%). No other candidates received more than 9% preference.

Note: Of the 27 participants in the February 2008 Poll who indicated they were planning to register or were registered as "Other," the following candidates were preferred: Obama (44%), Clinton (15%), McCain (13%), and Don't Know (25%). No other candidates received more than 9% preference.

Sample Characteristics

As mentioned, we solicited business students to participate in the February Poll. All students had completed the MBTI and received an interpretation. To assess the impact of including students, we compared reponses between participants who indicated they were APT members and those who indicated they were not (presumably students). Results indicated APT members:

  • reported preferences for I, N, & P more frequently than non-APT members.
  • scored higher on the three questions testing type knowledge.
  • were older.

No significant differences were found for sex or political self-identification as liberal, moderate or conservative.

These results seem reasonable given that business students are likely to be younger, posses a less comprehensive understanding of type, and prefer S and J more so than APT members. One might also expect the business students to be more T; the balance of T and F, however, might be due to the fact that most students were management majors which may attract Fs more so than other business classes such as accounting and finance.

Given these differences, we included age, tests scores of type knowledge and APT membership as control variables in various analyses.

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 and found support for the S-N effect. We replicated the analysis for the February 2008 Poll using a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with self-reported liberal-conservative orientations (n = 102) as the dependent variable and type preferences as the independent variables. We first tested for all main effects and all two-way interactions. Results again indicated a significant overall effect produced primarily by the S-N preferences.



Intuition (and Feeling?)


Sensing (& Thinking?)


Similary to the November 2007 analysis, the February 2008 results also indicated a near-significant effect (p = .07) for the T-F preferences (with Ts more conservative and Fs more liberal).

Finally, no support was found for a "type dynamics" effect (i.e., no interaction effects were significant). However, the interaction between E-I and J-P approached statistical significance (p = .08).

To explore the potential effects of demographic variables, we conducted a multiple regression analysis. Political orientation again was the dependent variable. Independent variables included each of the sets of type preferences as well as age, sex, APT membership, and total scores on the test of type knowledge. Results indicated a significant overall effect with T-F preferences and age as the primary predictors: Thinking preferences were associated with a more conservative orientation and age was associated with a more liberal orientation. These results provide further support that the T-F preferences may play a role in political orientation. However, the non-significant findings for the S-N preferences are not consistent with results from prior studies. In part, these results may be due to the fact that age correlates signficantly in the February 2008 sample with S-N preferences (as well as test scores and APT membership). The age variable thus may reflect indirectly, to some extent, the S-N influence.

Type and Party Membership

S-N and T-F preferences seem related to a person's political self-concept as liberal, moderate, or conservative. But, are type preferences related to one's choice of a political party?

Consulting Pscyhologists Press' construction of the Form M collected information about type and political party preference that provides some interesting insights into this question. In particular, the following hypotheses seem reasonable based on this analysis:

  • Republicans are likely to be TJ types.
  • INFJs cleary seem to identify as Democrats.
  • STJs are least likely to identify as Independents whereas NTPs are most likely to identify as Independents.

One of the objectives of the Type & Politics Poll is to try and replicate these results. Thus, in the November 2008 Poll we examined statistically whether or not the following variables would be associated with party identification (Republican, Democratic, Independent): E-I, S-N, T-F, J-P, and political orientation (liberal, moderate, conservative). We used a technique called Nominal Regression using the sample of APTi only members (with password) as well as the total set of responses (for exploratory purposes and to enhance statistical analysis). Results for the November Poll indicated that poll members with preferences for S, T, and J were more likely to identify as Republican than Democrat. Results also indicated those with preferences for T and J were more more likely to identify with Independent than Democrat. The results showing T & J associated with Republican moreso than Democrat seem consistent with CPP's findings.

Donkey & ElephantThese results, however, were produced without considering political orientation in the analysis. When political orientation was included along with the type preferences, only political orientation (liberal, moderate, conservative) was a significant predictor of party identification. As discussed in the analysis of the November 2007 Poll, these results are similar to results found in a sample of Italian voters using the Five-Factor Model measures as well as a measure of values. That is, the personality variables were found to relate to political party identification, but not as strongly as the measures of personal values. Thus, it seems possible that type preferences may influence political orientations which then are more closely associated with party identification.


Type & Party

Results from the February 2008 Poll were analyzed to explore whether or not the findings from the November 2007 poll would be replicated. Due to the smaller sample size, however, we adopted a more exploratory approach.

First, using multiple crosstab analyses, we examined the relationship between party self-identification (Democratic, Republican, & Independent) and variables of interest: political orientation, type preferences, age, sex, and APT membership. For these analyses, age was dichotomized into two groups: those 30 years of age and younger vs. those over 30 years of age. Our rationale for dichotomizing age is the consistent finding in political psychology research that party identification in young people is strongly influenced by parental party identfication. Futher, political ideology also may be influenced during these years, but may remain more flexible until one reaches one's late twenties. After age 30, research tends to show that political ideology becomes more stable.

Results from the multiple crosstab analyses indicated the following variables were significantly associated with party self-identification (listed in order of level of statistical significance):

  • political orientation.
  • age.
  • APT membereship.
  • T-F preferences.
  • sex.

Results for the S-N preferences were near-significant (p = .08). Preferences for E-I and J-P were not significant.

To explore more complex relationships, we used nominal regression (a technique that is similar to conducting many crosstabs at the same time). Due to the limited samples size, we used a step-wise process. This process included party self-identification as the dependent variable in each analysis and also included political orientation as an independent variable in each analysis. We then conducted separate analyses for each of the variables found to be significantly related to party identification in the univarite crosstab analyses. We also explored whether certain type interactions (SN by TP, SN by JP, and TF by JP) might produce significant results. Thus for example we conducted an analysis where party identfication was the dependent variable and the independent variables included political orientation and T-F preferences. (Note: We dichotomized political orientation into Liberal-Other given the skew in the data on this variable. Thus, the comparison is between self-identified Liberals and those who self-identified as Moderate or Conservative. Futher, we did not include APT membership given that this variable globally reflects some type differences as well as age differences. Rather, we used the more specific variables individually.)

Results from this analysis suggested only age contributed signficantly beyond political orientation. Near-signficant results, however, were found for T-F preferences (p = .07) and the interaction between preferences for T-F and J-P (p = .09).

Building on these results we conducted two other analyses by adding the T-F preferences and the interaction between T-F and J-P preferences. Results from these two analyses suggest a signficant result for the model with party identification as the dependent variable and the following as indepent variables: political orienation, age, and T-F preferences. Results indicated that sample members who were younger, not liberal, and expressed a preference for Thinking were more likely to self-identify as Republican than Democrat. With respect to the comparison between Independents and Democrats, only the political orienation score was signficant: Self-identified liberals were less likely to be independents.

Given that the February 2008 sample was somewhat different than the November 2007, we checked whether or not the results obtained in the February sample could be replicated in the November sample. We thus conducted a nominal regression with party identification as the dependent variable and the following as independent variables: political orientation, age, and T-F preferences. Results indicated only the political orientation variable was significantly associated with party identification in the November sample. This failure to replicate the full model suggests results may be sample specific and need further study.

Type and Need for Closure

The February 2008 Poll also contained a set of questions related to the psychological trait "Need for Closure." We selected these items from the American National Elections Studies 2006 Pilot Study for two reasons. First, the Need for Closure construct has significant interest for researchers in political psychology. Second, the trait appears related to other traits such as dogmatism, flexibility and complexity that have been found to correlated with type preferences, particularly the S-N and J-P preferences (see the Validity chapter of the 1985 MBTI Manual).

Prior to examining the relationship between type preferences and the need for closure scale, we first assessed the construct validity of the scale by performing a factor analysis. Results for this analysis suggested the scale was not unidimensional and that only one or two items seemed to clearly indicate the meaning of the two factors that emerged. We checked whether or not these results were limited only to the February 2008 Poll sample by conducting a similar factor analysis of the ANES data downloaded from their website. Results of this analysis were quite similar to the results for the February 2008 Poll sample. The researchers who proposed the original items also have commented similarly about the lack of unidimensionality (and provide a rationale for the use of the items. For more information, see their discussion in the pdf file here).

Given these results, we took an exploratory look at the relationship between type preferences (S-N and T-F) and the need for closure items by conducting a two-group discriminant analysis for each set of type preferences. Both analyses resulted in a significant canonical correlation. Moreover, in both analyses, the same three items contributed to discriminant results:

  • "Do you like unpredictable situations, dislike them, or neither like nor dislike them?"
  • "How disorganized are the rooms that you personally live and work in most?"
  • "Of the situations when you see two people disagreeing with one another, in how many of them can you see how both people could be right?"
As might be expected from type theory, Ns and Ps reported prefering unpredictable situations, disorganized rooms, and seeing both sides of a disagreement more so than did Ss and Js. It should be noted, however, that the results were stronger for the S-N preferences and the the first item (unpredictable situations) was the most influential item contributing to the disrimination between S-N and J-P preferences.
Although exploratory, these results do seem consistent with type theory and thus provide a rationale for continued exploration of the relationship between need for closure, type preferences, and political dynamics.


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