My ISideWith Experiment

June 2, 2016 Posted by E. Zachary Knight

This past week, Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for President, was criticized for saying that he agreed with Bernie Sanders on “73% of the issues”. In these reports, Governor Johnson cites the popular political quiz site This site asks you a series of questions and then uses your responses to tell you how your answers compare to popular Presidential candidates.

I decided to take a look at the site and do a little experiment of my own. ISideWith can tell you multiple things, depending on how you answer your questions. ISideWith asks a series of questions, but not all of the questions are viewable without clicking a link. The same is true with the answers. Each question has two default answers “Yes” or “No” or some variant of that. However, most of the questions have multiple expanded answers.

With all this in mind, I decided to take the test four times. Here are the results of each of those tests.

My first time through, I answered only the default questions using only the default answers.

iside_with1As you can see, based on these results I side with Governor Johnson  on 91% of the issues. I also side with Clinton on 79% of the issues, Stein on 78%, Sanders on 77%, and Trump on 63%.

My second time through, I answered all the expanded questions using only the default answers.

iside_with2This time through, my score with Johnson improves while every other candidate drops with the most dramatic drop being Clinton by 11 percentage points.

My third time through, I answered only the default questions but I used the expanded answers where they applied.

iside_with3My overlap with Governor Johnson actually falls a bit, but he is still my #1 guy. Trump drops considerably. Hillary improves a bit, but her placement remains the same.

My final time through, I answered all the expanded questions using expanded responses when applicable.

iside_with4Governor Johnson springs back up to his second highest overlap with me. Everyone else stays stays about the same.

Update: I took the Quiz a 5th time and actually weighted my responses. This changed things considerably.

isidewith5Here my alignment with Trump falls considerably and Bernie jumps up a percentage point above Stein.

If we average all four five scores of each candidate, these are the results. I side with Governor Johnson 91.25% 91.2% of the time. I side with Stein 77.25% 75.8% of the time. I side with Sanders 75.25% 74.6% of the time. I side with Clinton 70.5% 68.4% of the time. Finally, I side with Trump 57.75% 54% of the time. What all this tells me is that my political views are more liberal than they are conservative.

What is the point of all this? Nothing much. I think that ISideWith is a fun exercise in political science, but it is not an exact science. Part of the problem is that the quiz doesn’t include a lot of questions that many of these candidates find important. Additionally, some questions don’t have answers that reflect all possible positions of these candidates. So while this quiz is fun, I wouldn’t recommend using it as your only guide in the election. Nor would I recommend using these results to attack or insult any candidates or voters.

If you are interested in taking fun political quizzes, I also recommend taking the World’s Smallest Political Quiz to find out where you fall on the political spectrum.

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One Response to My ISideWith Experiment

  1. Nick says:

    Great analysis Zach, was fun to read!

    You mentioned “that the quiz doesn’t include a lot of questions that many of these candidates find important”.

    Which questions do you think should be added to the quiz and how would you word them?

    Thanks for the writeup!

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