Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, red state, blue state- as the presidential election looms, I'm increasingly troubled by the use of these terms, as though every voter fits neatly within one of two categories. I know that, depending on the issue, I vary wildly across the spectrum. I strongly dislike the Patriot Act and other actions taken to diminish our personal liberties. I'm strongly in favor of a balanced budget. I'm in favor of national health care, but only if we can pay for it without borrowing the money from our children.
I refuse to allow either party to claim ownership of my vote, and I try to cast my ballot for the person, regardless of party, that best represents my views. Determining this is a challenge, but I found some help. The web site glassbooth.org offered a clever way to help me choose my presidential candidate.
The site presented a quiz that explored my opinions on many of the key issues of this election. I first chose, from an initial list, which topics I felt most strongly about, so my choices on those topics would be weighed more heavily. I was then led through a set of questions, choosing my view on each on a scale ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The results were translated into a score showing to what degree my views match those of the major candidates.
I can't vow for the algorithm used to crunch the numbers, but the result seems pretty consistent with what I would have expected. I agree 68% of the time with Obama 66% of the time, with Nader (ouch!), and 46% of the time with McCain.
The site was created by Ian Manheimer, a public interest advocate, and others. I'm always a bit hesitant to accept the objectivity of any site that proposes to reveal to me my best interests, for fear that a bias, conscious or subconscious, affected its creation. Therefor, I'd be very interested in your take on this questionnaire, if you take it. Did it seem accurate? Balanced? Fair? Were you surprised by the results?