My friend Clark just sent me a link to ABC’s Vote 2008 Match-o-matic that finds your top three candidates based on 11 sample questions covering the war in Iraq, health care, immigration and tax reform. It told me my top three candidates were Mitt Romney, Dennis Kucinich, and Ron Paul. If need be, you can find an overview of all the candidates here.
While I think such tests are a good guide, I have a few problems with them. First, there are a lot of issues they don’t cover, and they don’t always take into account your feelings about some of the issues. For example, some people aren’t affected by immigration and could care less, so those answers would have less weight.
Second, they all seem to crunch their numbers differently. This test spat out two Republicans and a Democrat. A test I took in the past listed more candidates than three, but my tops on that test were all Democrats, with the top two listed as Bill Richardson and Mike Gravel. So am I a Democrat or a Republican?
Which brings me to third parties. I tend to gravitate towards third parties, and most of the time the Libertarians seem to line up with my thinking. Most of the same silly tests about party affiliation put me squarely in the Libertarian circle. So where are the third parties on these tests?
More importantly, where are the third parties on the lists? The link above doesn’t have any third party candidates. Nor do any of the other media outlets I found in a quick search. Non-partisan sites like Project Vote Smart list them, but there are more than you can shake a stick at (including a handful of whack jobs to keep things interesting). But hey, at least they’re making an attempt, not just perpetuating the two-party system.
Which leads to the big problem. Take the test, then go through the results. On how many points do you actually agree with the candidate? When I was told I should vote for Bill Richardson, I had a 70% match. Respectable, but I had to consider the weight I assigned to various issues. On ABC’s list, however, I only matched 5 of 11 responses to my alleged top candidate Romney, and only 3 of 11 responses to both Kucinich and Paul.
In the end, the test just confirms how I really feel:
These guys are all full of shit.