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



Intuition (& Feeling?)


Sensing (& Thinking?)


For the results from the May Poll, we used multiple regression analysis to examine the relationship between liberal-conservative political orientation and the following: the four type preference sets (E-I, S-N, T-F, J-P), age, sex, and the OEQ subscale. 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 change when the other variables also were added. The first set of results indicated a significant effect for the T-F preferences and a near-significant effect (p = .06) for the S-N preferences. When the other variables were added to the analysis, only the OEQ subscale was significant with a near signifcant effect (p = .08) for the S-N preferences.

These results provide marginal support for the hypothesis that S-N and T-F preferences seem related to liberal-conservative political orientation. However, as discussed in prior poll reports, the relationship of type preferences to liberal-conservative political orientation may be mediated by attitudes such as those reflected in the OEQ subscale. For example, a preference for Thinking may be associated with higher support for group inequality which then is associated with a more conservative political orientation. The near-signficant results for S-N preferences (when controlling for the influence of OEQ), however, suggest that the different preference sets may have direct and indirect relationships to liberal-conservative political orientation. Further studies using path analysis with larger samples may help to tease out these relationships.

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