Tech & The Web

Vote Guidance Site Reveals Problem I Already Knew

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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.

I 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.)

Your Turn:

Do you already know who you’re voting for? If so, how long ago did you decide. If not, when do you think you’ll make up your mind?

17 Comments

  1.  I don’t mean this to sound as cynical as its going to, but I haven’t given much though to the Presidential race because largely it doesn’t matter what I vote. My home state is already in the red column, and has been since well before the nomination was decided. The meaningful vote I cast was during the Republican primary. So I’m basically just counting down the days until election season is over and we can get back to ‘normal’ ‘real’ life.
     
    According to the site, I’m about 80% with Romney and 79% with Gary Johnson ( who I had not heard of prior to visiting the site.)

  2.  I don’t mean this to sound as cynical as its going to, but I haven’t given much though to the Presidential race because largely it doesn’t matter what I vote. My home state is already in the red column, and has been since well before the nomination was decided. The meaningful vote I cast was during the Republican primary. So I’m basically just counting down the days until election season is over and we can get back to ‘normal’ ‘real’ life.
     
    According to the site, I’m about 80% with Romney and 79% with Gary Johnson ( who I had not heard of prior to visiting the site.)

    1.  @TedtheThird I see your point, but then Obama won 44% of the vote in South Carolina last year. If more people who wanted to vote for him actually had, it might have been a closer race. I think we have to assume that no matter what polls may say, it’s the actual counts that matter when people show up at the booth. An angry enough electorate can trump a poll every time…if they show up.

  3. I already decided last October/November – but events since then have confirmed things even more for me – the issues re: birth control and women’s rights, a candidate’s past work history that was more about killing jobs and moving them overseas and storing money in offshore accounts than helping our country, as well as his extreme degree of flip-floppiness and various other issues like lack of substance but lots of lies in convention speeches have made me more sure.
    In the poll I came out 81%  Obama and only 6% Romney.  Jill Stein at 87% – I don’t know anything about her, though – I’ll have to do some reading now!

  4. For me it is an easy choice, I vote for the party that doesn’t want to make me a criminal. I will not vote for the party that wants me to have a star on my driver’s license. I will not vote for a party that tells me that I cannot have a job or an apartment or that I cannot walk into a restaurant and be served. I will not vote for the party that tells me that I cannot marry anyone at all.

    1.  @DianaCT I’m not sure about the significance of a “star” on your driver’s license, or that anyone is telling you can’t have a job or an apartment. 
       
      Did you take the quiz? How closely did it rank you to your choice?

      1. @patricksplace
        Obama 82%
        Romney 4%
        CT Voters 53%
        All US Voters 50%
         
        Jill Stein 89% ???? Who is Jill Stein, I never heard of her.
        Humph… She is with the Green Party, in the last election I voted for the Green Party. In Connecticut your votes count toward the candidate not the party, the Governor was on both the Democratic ticket and the Green Party ticket so I voted for him on the Green Party line. He won because he received the most votes, even though he did receive the most votes on the Democratic line, but he received the most votes when the Green Party votes and the Democratic Party votes were added together.
         
        The Republican Party has strongly opposed any gender inclusive anti-discrimination bill; their stance is that a person should have the right to discriminate against any trans-person. They have stated that they believe that no one should have to employ or rent to a trans-person and provide service if they don’t want to do it.
         
        In one amendment that they proposed would increase the penalty if a crime is committed while crossdressed. If you were protesting Chick-Fil-A and you are transgender the penalty would increase just because you are transgender,
        “…the crime of which such person stands convicted, be subject to the sentence of imprisonment authorized by said section for the next more serious degree of misdemeanor or felony, as the case may be, except that if the crime is a class A misdemeanor, such person shall be subject to the sentence of imprisonment authorized by said section for a class D felony.”
         
        In another amendment, they proposed that all transgender people register with the motor vehicle commissioner,
        “…Any person holding a motor vehicle operator’s license whose gender-related identity is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth shall notify the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles of such identity and the commissioner shall indicate such identity in the electronic record maintained by the commissioner pertaining to such person’s operator’s license.”
        During the Senate debate, the Senator suggested annotating the driver’s license with a star.
         
        The votes for all of the amendments were right down party lines.
         
        In other states the Republicans have proposed similar amendments to block legislation. During the Congressional hearings on the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) for sexual orientation and gender identity, so Republican legislators referred to the bill as the Pedophile Employment Bill.   
         
        http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/AMD/H/2011HB-06599-R00SC-AMD.htm
        http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/lcoamd/2011LCO07378-R00-AMD.htm

  5. For me it is an easy choice, I vote for the party that doesn’t want to make me a criminal. I will not vote for the party that wants me to have a star on my driver’s license. I will not vote for a party that tells me that I cannot have a job or an apartment or that I cannot walk into a restaurant and be served. I will not vote for the party that tells me that I cannot marry anyone at all.

  6. I “sided” 68% with Obama.  But mostly on science & immigration.  I can honestly say that online quizzes notwithstanding, I don’t think I side with either candidate that much.
     
    So I’m starting a grassroots campaign, and I’m using Patrick’s Place as the launching pad…
     
    Empty Chair ’12.  No more doubletalk.  Hell no more talk at all.  Get behind it, folks.  It may be the best option we have!

  7. Wow, I was 80% for the Libertarian candidate, 73% for Obama, and 65% for Romney. I think I know who I’m going to vote for, but I really dislike all my options and keep hoping (against logic) that someone else will present themselves. It will be an election of voting against instead of for someone.

      1.  @patricksplace  @TammyL As my beautiful and intelligent wife is fond of pointing out, the notion of voting “against” a candidate is inherently flawed.  You cannot vote AGAINST a particular candidate; only FOR a different one.  In the polling place, you are not “crossing off” those you don’t like, but instead choosing the one  candidate who most closely reflects your own values and political views.

        1.  @Chip_51  @patricksplace  @TammyL   There are actually voting methods in which we could do that.  If we really wanted to know the true will of the people, one of the better voting systems would be a ranking system like those used for college football…..

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.