May 2008 Poll - Discussion

Introduction

Welcome to the discussion of results from the May 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 May 2008 Poll Results link in the 2008 Election Studies Menu above.

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


Poll Overview - May 2008


Methods

The third round of the Type & Politics Poll was conducted during the first full week of May 2008. Approximately 260 e-mails were sent to people who registered to participate in the Poll. The Poll also was open to any visitor to the website during this time.


Participants

Sixty-two people completed the poll. The majority of these respondents indicated preferences for I (68%), N (87%), T (53%), and P (57%). The average age of respondents was 54 years and the majority (56%) were female.

Ninety-seven percent of the responses came from U.S. citizens. The political affiliations of those who indicated this information was: 45% Democrat, 31% Independent, and 19% Republican.

With respect to MBTI experience, 81% indicated they were members (or had been members) of an APT association and 86% indicated they were MBTI qualified. One-hundred 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, trends in approval ratings were fairly consistent with other polls to date: 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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BUSH APPROVAL RATINGS

CONGRESS APPROVAL RATINGS

 

RIGHT DIRECTION

 

Note: May results shown are for all poll respondents indicating U.S. Citizenship (n = 60).

Preferences for Presidential Candidates: Poll Responses Compared with National Averages

Participants in the May 08 Poll showed marginal support for Obama over Clinton (Democrats) and general support for McCain (Republicans).

 

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.

 

May 2008 Poll participants who indicated they were democrats (n = 28) expressed slightly more support for Obama than Clinton when compared with national averages.

 

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".

 

May Poll participants who indicated they were registered republicans (n = 12) generally expressed support for McCain. Note: National results for the Republican primary are no long reported at realclearpolitics.com

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.

Note: Of the 21 participants in the May 2008 Poll who indicated they were "Independents" or "Other," the following candidates were preferred: Obama (53%), Clinton (5%), and McCain (16%). No other candidate received more than one vote.


Overview of Correlations

Given the realtively small number of resondents to the May 08 Poll, we first looked at simple relationships between the following poll variables: type preferences (E-I, S-N, T-F, J-P), age, sex, self-identified liberal-conservative orientation, political party identification, and the Opposition to Equality (OEQ) sub-scale from the Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) questionnaire, "...a measure of an individual's preference for hierarchy within any given social system."

The results of the correlation analysis indicated:

  • Sensing types and Thinking types reported a more conservative political orientation whereas Intuitive types and Feeling types reported a more liberal political orientation. Although the small number of Sensing types in the May Poll require these S-N results be viewed as tentative, the results are similar to findings for each of the other polls as well as other research. The significant results for the relationship between T-F preferences and liberal-conservative political orientations is interesting when compared with the results from the February Poll which showed a near-siginificant effect (p = .07) between these two variables in an ANOVA using only the type preferences, and a significant effect when demographic variables were added.
  • Feeling types were less likely than Thinking types to report attitudes supporting Opposition to Equality (OEQ) on the SDO subscale. Thus, Feeling types were more likely than Thinking types to agree with such attitudes as "Increased social equality would be a good thing" and "All groups should be given an equal chance in life." These results are consistent with results from studies using the full SDO questionnaire and a measure of the Five-Factor Model of personality in that higher Agreeableness scores (similar to F preferences) have been associated with lower SDO scores on the total SDO questionnaire.
  • Liberal political orientations were negatively associated with higher experessed OEQ on the SDO subscale whereas conservative political orientations were positively associated with higher expressed OEQ. These results are consistent with other studies using the total SDO questionnaire and the conservative principle of variety as stated by conservative philosopher Russell Kirk:

...conservatives pay attention to the principle of variety. They feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life, as distinguished from the narrowing uniformity and deadening egalitarianism of radical systems. For the preservation of a healthy diversity in any civilization, there must survive orders and classes, differences in material condition, and many sorts of inequality. The only true forms of equality are equality at the Last Judgment and equality before a just court of law; all other attempts at levelling must lead, at best, to social stagnation. Society requires honest and able leadership; and if natural and institutional differences are destroyed, presently some tyrant or host of squalid oligarchs will create new forms of inequality.

  • Self-identified party affiliation (Democratic, Republican, Independent, etc.) was significantly related to self-identified political orientation as liberal-conservative, and to the OEQ subscale of the SDO questionnaire. In general, Democrats provided higher liberal scores and lower OEQ subscale scores whereas Republicans provided the opposite.

The above results suggest that numerous variables from the poll are correlated. Thus, in the following analyses, we used multiple regression analysis to account for these multiple correlations.


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).

 

Liberal

Intuition (& Feeling?)

Conservative

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.


Type and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO)

Social Domininance Orientation is a personality construct within Social Dominance Theory (SDT) . SDT explores how social hierarchies are created and maintained within any particular social system or group. SDT thus invovles, in part, the study of such political and social factors as prejudice, sexism, racism and so forth.

Within SDT, SDO is viewed as an aspect of peresonality that predisposes individual's to support social hiearchies to varying degrees; e.g., people who score high on measures of SDO are more predisposed to supporting a social heiarchy than are those who score low on measures of SDO. Factors that are hypothesized to influence one's SDO include such things as one's sex, socialization, the status of existing group memberships, and--most relevant for this Poll--"temperamental predisposition." 

The few studies exploring the relationship between general personality factors and SDO suggest that people who score low on Agreeableness and Openness to Experience tend to score higher on SDO. To the extent that low scores on Agreeableness relate to a Thinking preference and low scores on Openness relate to a Sensing preference, then we might expect Ss and Ts to score higher on measures of SDO. This notion seems further supported when considering the relationship of type preferences to ideal organizational settings where the ST mental functions group generally indicates a preference for hierarchical organizational designs.

Most studies of SDO have used a 16-item scale treated as a summated scale. More recent studies suggest this 16-item scale may be bi-dimensional. For the May Poll, we chose to include only one of the subscales (to keep the Poll short). As mentioned, this subscale has been termed "Opposition to Equality" and contains such items as "Increased social equality would be a good thing" and "All groups should be given an equal chance in life." The other sub-scale has been termed "Group Based Dominance" and contains such items as "In getting what you want, it is sometimes necessary to use force against other groups" and "To get ahead in life, it is sometimes necessary to step on other groups."

We assessed the dimensionality and reliability of the 8 items used in the May 08 Poll (i.e., the items from the OEQ subscale). We first conducted a factor analysis of the scale. Results generally supported the assumption that all items measured a common dimension. Results from the reliability analysis indicated the scale had high reliability (coefficient alpha = .90).

Following this assessment, we conducted a multiple regression analysis to explore the relationship between SDO and type preferences. The summed score from the Opposition to Equality scale was used as the dependent variable. Independent variables included the four sets of type preferences, age, sex, and self-identified liberal-conservative political orientations.

Results from this analysis indicated:

  • Liberal-Conservative political orientations had the strongest relationship to SDO. Thus, as been found in previous studies with the full SDO questionnaire, more conservative orientations relate positively to more support for " Opposition to Equality" (and thus, SDO).
  • T-F preferences were significantly related to SDO: Thinking types, moreso than Feeling types, reported higher scores on the OEQ subscale. These results seem consistent with studies relating the Big-Five personality factors with SDO, particularly with respect the relationship between Agreeableness and SDO. (Note: The non-siginifcant results for S-N preferences may be due to the small number of Ss in the sample.)
  • No other variables related significantly to the sub-scale (although E-I preferences were near-significant, p = .09).

The above results suggest that type preferences may indeed be related to SDO and thus to various political dynamics that relate to the support of social hierarchies. Futher research with larger samples thus seems warranted (and particularly with samples containing more Ss and those of conservative orientation).

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