Candidate Compatibility

Overall Candidate ResultsI found the results of this candidate compatibility calculator interesting. The calculator consists of 23 issues that you rate your support as Yes/No/unsure and the importance of the issue as High/Medium/Low. I visited to find out what candidate my views supposedly corresponded with. I have been surprised by some calculators before. Aside from the top candidate I thought that the calculator did pretty well with me (My Candidate Matchup). I may agree generally with John Cox on the issues, but I don’t know that he is much more prepared than I am to be President (except that he’s over 35). I was disappointed to see that until I expanded the list of top candidates and found that Mike Huckabee has the same percentage of compatibility with my views followed by Ron Paul. Mitt Romney, John McCain and (surprisingly) Tom Tancredo were tied below that followed by Fred Thompson. I knew that the calculator was right to put Rudy Giuliani at the bottom among the Republicans on my list (below a Democrat no less).

When I saw the results I was surprised to see the aggregate results which show that 55% of respondents lined up with Republicans when the prevailing wisdom is that Democrats have the edge in the 2008 election. Complicating this surprise is the fact that the number one individual candidate with the for respondents overall was Mike Gravel – a Democrat. Perhaps one of the reasons for this interesting combination of results is that the scoring does not penalize candidates who oppose your position on issues of high importance to you – they are scored the same as candidates who take no position on the issues of high importance to you. Perhaps the high success for Mike Gravel is that he is undeclared on most issues where there is not much consensus on the issue. This would allow him to get points with every respondent who did not list the issue as being of high importance.

UPDATE: I used the calculator again and took a stance on some of the issues I had marked as unsure before. This time Ron Paul topped my list. More interestingly Rudy Giuliani was now significantly below two Democrats and tied with a third. (Is it any wonder that I won’t vote for him?)

5 comments for “Candidate Compatibility

  1. October 9, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    Ron Paul is at the top of my list. I can’t say I’m surprised.

  2. Jason Black
    October 9, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve seen about a dozen or so of these calculators, and even when I give identical answers, I get different results. Mike Huckabee took one of these and found that he agreed with every Republican candidate but one more than with himself.

    These are sometimes generated by specific candidate supporters and intentionally weight the test results to indicate that you’re more in line with their candidate than you really are.

    They can be interesting at best, but I wouldn’t let the results sway my opinion in the least.

  3. October 10, 2007 at 8:10 am

    I don’t think this particular calculator is by supporters of any specific candidate – not that its neutrality would alter my opinion more than if it were weighted to any given candidate.

    The reason that I commented on it was not so much about my results as it was about the interesting aggregate results. The fact that the individual candidate with the highest individual compatibility overall was a Democrat when the Republican party was solidly more compatible with the aggregate responses on the calculator was what I found interesting.

  4. October 10, 2007 at 9:35 am

    The problems with trying to align with a candidate by this method are that: 1) not all issues are of equal importance, and 2) there are many other factors beyond simple issue statements upon which a good decision must be based.

    There are some candidates with whom I might agree on 90% of issues, but for whom I could never vote due to either the significance of the issues where I disagree with them and/or factors beyond the issues.

    There are some major issues that I think are vitally important. What kind of SCOTUS justices will this person appoint? How well does this person respect the Constitution? What kind of leadership style does this person have? If a candidate can get all of these things right, I might be willing to disagree with him/her on many other issues, and yet still be able to vote for them.

  5. October 10, 2007 at 9:55 am

    It’s true that these tests try to boil down the issues into simple questions while very few people have simplistic yes or no opinions on the questions. i often find myself reading the kinds of questions they ask and say to myself “You’re partly right on the issue and partly wrong – I’m not sure if I agree or disagree with the statement provided.” This is even true on issues of great importance to me.

    In the end Jason was right. “They can be interesting at best, but I wouldn’t let the results sway my opinion in the least.”

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