Who do you side with in this year’s presidential election? For many people, that’s not the simplest of questions.
A website called “I Side With…” sets out to help voters answer that question. I gave the site a try, but didn’t exactly wind up with the answer I expected.
First, a bit of disclosure: I’m neither Republican nor Democrat. I am middle of the road and vote for the candidate rather than the party. I’ve never voted “straight party ticket” in my life and I think you have to be either a little insane or very lazy to do so: I believe that the best man or woman for the job is not necessarily confined to one single party; I believe that if one party was always right, there’d be no need for a second party. I believe that when overly-partisan people scream at one another for years at a time insisting that their way is the only way, reality is usually somewhere in the middle.
I also do not yet know who I’m voting for. There are things I like about both sides, but a lot that I dislike about both sides.
suspect am certain that I’m not alone in this position.
I was actually hoping that the GOP convention would present clear, honest ideas — specifics they’d do to make things better — that would convince me 100% that the Romney/Ryan team have all of the answers. That didn’t happen for me.
The site presents you with a series of multiple choice answers. What I like a lot is that it gives you additional answers beyond the basic “yes” and “no.” You can then rank individual issues on their relative importance to your own particular position. It covers a wide range of issues, from social to economic to defense to foreign policy.
I took the test, choosing to answer every question in the entire test. (You have the option to answer basic questions and skip over additional ones in each category.)
The answer was interesting: I side 78% with Barack Obama. The answer surprised me a bit, because I honestly didn’t think I sided with him on three-quarters of everything he stands for. As as it turns out, I’m not.
That’s when I spotted the next line: as a runner up, Mitt Romney comes in 75% in line with my views.
How can I side with both at such a high percentage? Therein lies the problem with the test.
I side with Obama most on economic, social, science and immigration issues. With Romney, I agree most on foreign policy, economic, domestic policy and environmental issues.
If I were to have gone with just the top line, I’d have been convinced that I should vote for Obama for a second term, because the claim that I side 78% with him might otherwise lead me to believe that I only side 22% with Romney. I’m pretty sure that’s how most people would read that if they didn’t look down at the next line.
But when you consider that there’s just a three percent difference between my stance on the issues and the two candidates’ stated position, I’m not willing to just go with the higher-scoring candidate.
No one should be.
There’s not a lot of time until the election. I hope all of you are really researching positions and thinking about how you feel and what you’d do if you were in charge. (And it’s important to note that “researching” positions does not mean listening to a political speech; I hope you already know that.)