The Keirsey Research 2012 Presidential election tracking poll continues to show a consistent gap when comparing the preferences of the 4 Temperaments. In a nutshell, if only Guardian men were allowed to vote, Mitt Romney would easily be elected as the next president of the United States. Unfortunately for him, no such restriction exists, and the overwhelming preference of Idealists and Rationals, as well as marked preference of all Artisans and of Guardian women, is Barack Obama. We have sliced and diced the data in many directions this month, with graphs and charts to help explain what is going on, and why Romney faces such an uphill battle to November.
First, a short word about our poll and validity. Since we analyze and present our data with a Temperament stratification, we have received a number of emails from readers questioning our results. These emails usually take the form of, “Your data shows that [ex] Idealist women strongly favor Obama. I’m an Idealist woman, and I am voting for Ron Paul. Your data is wrong!”
To start, this is a poll. It shows that just as there are Guardian men who are planning to vote for Obama, there are Idealist women who are planning to vote for Romney (or Ron Paul). Those are the smaller bars on the charts. The data indicates the preferences of the majority of voters, not that all people of a particular group will vote identically. Our poll is statistically valid to within 1-2% at it’s highest level, ie the entire sample of 1000 US registered voters who are planning on voting in the upcoming election. At the individual temperament / gender level, it is accurate to +/- 5%, as each of these groups is a smaller subset of the 1000. However, since we are running a tracking poll, and the results have been consistent now for 3 months, our confidence level is very high. But back to the individual noting that they are an outlier of the majority of their Temperament group, I will give a specific example – Dave Keirsey and I are both Rational males. We don’t plan on voting for the same candidate. Each of us, in our heart, thinks of the other as an outlier. So it goes. (The fact that everyone in our poll has enough of an interest in self-awareness to spend 10-15 minutes taking the KTS-II may introduce some bias into the poll, but as you will see our representation by political party mirrors the US general population, so we have satisfied ourselves that interest in self awareness is not limited by political belief).
On to the results. The poll was conducted during the first week of July 2012. The sampled participants are representative of the 2010 US Census data by sex, age, and geographical region.
Question 1: If the election were to be held tomorrow, for whom would you vote?
Both Obama and Romney picked up a point this month, which is within the margin of poll variance. The overall gap between them is holding steady at 15%. If the election was to be held tomorrow, the popular vote would be a landslide for Obama. ( It is the Electoral College system of voting that is keeping this election result in question.) As noted above, the Temperament Gap is quite large. At one end, Guardian (SJ) men favor Romney by 13 points – 49% to 36%. Of the 8 combinations of Temperament and sex, Guardian males make up 20-25% of the electorate, so this a sizable advantage for Romney. However, the other seven groups more than counter balance the SL males (click on the thumbnail chart to see in detail). Many news stories point out the “Gender Gap” in the polls.
The Gender Gap is actually very specific – it exists primarily with the Guardian Temperament. From month to month, our poll shows that Idealist (NF) males are the most enthusiastic Obama supporters (Idealist females are similar). Because the main supporters of Romney are SJ males, we’ve done a bit more digging within this group and found some interesting information that we’ll present further down the page. If the data above seems discouraging for Romney, a deeper dig makes it look worse.
Question 2: Do you personally like President Obama?
President Obama remains personally popular with all groups. Even Guardian men like him almost as much as they dislike him at 38% to 40%. Overall, he’s holding steady at just under 50% likability, and 22% dis-likability. Not approaching the level of Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, but they were Artisan Performers. We really can’t expect a Rational like Obama to compare with the most charismatic of all the types.
Question 3: Do you personally like Governor Romney?
The good news for Governor Romney is that his likable numbers have been inching up. The bad news is that they started at 13% in May, and are now up to 16%, while his dislike numbers have fallen from 40% to 37%. If he only keeps this trend going steady for another 10 months, his “like” factor will surpass his “dislike” factor. As we noted in a previous article, we believe Romney, like Obama, is a Rational (NT). However, unlike Obama, he projects the “cold and distant” Rational traits, contributing greatly to his low likability. (disclaimer: I am an ENTJ, and have been accused of being “cold and distant” on occasion. It doesn’t mean we Rationals are cold and distant – we just appear that way to the more cooperative types. As all Trekies know, there was some compassion lurking deep in Mr. Spock’s heart…)
Question 4: Do you approve of President Obama’s job performance at this time?
These numbers are holding steady at 41% approval and 44% disapproval. This would normally be bad news for a sitting president in an election year, but there are two factors which mitigate this. One is that polls (including previous Keirsey Research polls) show that a component of the high disapproval number is liberal voters who believe Obama has let them down. These voters are highly unlikely to vote for Romney. The second factor will be discussed in a few paragraphs.
Question 5: What is your political party affiliation?
This is really meant to ensure our results are not skewing due to a political bias introduced by our methodology. The results, happily, continue to show that people of all political persuasions are interested in learning more about themselves. (We already knew this, considering the wide diversity of political opinions at Keirsey, where we all are devotees of “Please Understand Me”).
Question 6: The US Supreme Court has upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as “ObamaCare”. How do you feel about this decision?
Since this decision had just been announced, and the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives made a repeal vote a forefront issue, we wanted to know if this could be a wedge issue for Romney to exploit. Based on the results in the chart to the left, we don’t think so.
Looking deeper – the bad news for Romney. This election offers a unique circumstance. It is the first time, at least in several generations, where both major party candidates are Rationals. Neither has the intense personal magnetism of a Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton (Artisan Performers), or even the Artisan Promoter charisma of JFK or George W. Bush. Most presidential elections are decided by the swing voters, which our surveys over the years have shown are largely Artisans. Candidate likability is a very significant factor in how this group votes. Barack Obama, so far, has proven a much greater ability than Mitt Romney to shed his Rational skin in how he relates to the electorate. At the right is a chart that graphically illustrates Romney’s greatest challenge in the next 100 days or so. It examines the two candidates’ likability factor with Guardian males, Romney’s support base. While Guardian men dislike Obama at 40% (to 38% like), this does not translate to strong likability of Romney, even in this group. Romney’s dislike-to-like gap is even greater than Obama’s, at 35% dislike to 23% like – even among his strongest supporters. If Romney can’t get the SJ male population to like him, he has no chance with the Artisan swing voters in November.