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 ISideWith.com. 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.
My second time through, I answered all the expanded questions using only the default answers.
My third time through, I answered only the default questions but I used the expanded answers where they applied.
My final time through, I answered all the expanded questions using expanded responses when applicable.
Update: I took the Quiz a 5th time and actually weighted my responses. This changed things considerably.
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.