he must be a Republican

A few weeks ago, I linked to the War Personality Test by WildMonk. He emailed later on with a summary report (reproduced in full in an update to my original post). But I have to take serious issue with some of his statements and analyses of the data.

WildMonk wrote:

Among Republicans, the figures are 5% and 2%. 92% of Republicans disagree or disagree strongly with the proposition that America is the greatest threat to world peace. If you wonder why the average American doubts the patriotism of the Democrats, this will go a long way toward explaining why.

I wasnt aware that the "average American" doubts the patriotism of Democrats, esp given that 48% of the electorate voted for one in the last Presidential election (500,000 more than voted for a Republican). Perhaps it's the average Republican who thinks Democrats are traitorous scum, is a more accurate statement?

And of course, there's a huge difference between disapproving of your government's foreign policy and being unpatriotic. In fact, most people who disapprove of US foreign policy do so because they hold America to a certain standard - it is a direct result of their patriotism and love for this country that drives them to critique those who sully its ideals.

Wild Monk continues his analysis:

There is much more (did you know that Republicans, on average, score 9.3 out of 10 on rationality while Democrats score only 7.4?) so I invite you to stop by to take a look.

I would be interested in knowing how "rationality" is calculated. When I linked to the Personality Test, the rationality score was the subject of some debate in my comments section. (For the record, I scored a 10 out of 10, though :)

For a far more useful test of political orientation and personality, I still think the World's Shortest Political Quiz is the best. I tend to score on the border between left-liberal, centrist, and libertarian (no surprise to Jim Henley :) I do seem to recall that Matthew Yglesias had posted a critique of this 2D politics method, but cant find it on his blog since he hasnt enabled searchable archives...

UPDATE: Wildmonk wrote back:

I have to admit that this was unfortunate wording and in subsequent emails I changed the "average American" label to "many Americans". It is also true that in the last presidential election, issues of patriotism and national defense were not exactly on the voters collective mind. In the more recent election, where such issues were raised much more prominantly, the results were quite different.

fair enough. We will see in the next election, I guess! I'm sufficiently mollified by this. However, with respect to the other point of contention, WildMonk stood firm. He and I will have to agree to disagree. Though, he did point me to a post on his blog regarding how "rationality" is calculated. It turns out to have been strongly biased towards WildMonk's opinions on certain specific questions:

Rationality was calculated on a scale from 1 (low) to 10 (high). The score was affected most strongly by question 4: "It has not been proven that the World Trade Center / Pentagon attacks were committed by Muslims." Anyone who strongly agreed with this statement, lost 7 rationality points. Merely agreeing (but not strongly), cost 5 points. Having no opinion cost 3 points (I'll discuss all of these points below). Questions 2 and 5 had a small effect on the answer. If you Strongly Disagreed with the statement "The Afghani people are in much better condition today than before the Afghan war." then you were docked 1 point. Similarly, if you Strongly Agreed with the statement "The Bush administation's primary reason for invading Iraq is to take control of Iraqi oilfields." then you were docked 1 point.

People who Strongly Agreed with the statement "War has never and will never achieve anything" lost 3 points for loopiness and those just Agreeing lost 2 points. I'm sure all of the America haters will love this last one - 3 points were lost for those who Strongly Agreed with the statement "The United States is presently the greatest threat to world peace." Those that simply Agreed lost 2 points and those who had "No Opinion" lost 1 point.

(I repeat, I scored 10 out of 10). Still, I think it's somewhat disingenious to label this "rationality". Still, I'm definitely going to revisit WM again, I do like his style and he is gifted enough to actually implement cool things like online quizzes, so it does push the boundaries of blogging a bit further.

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