Politics and Temperament: Why President Obama Should Love Idealists

As I wrote in yesterday’s entry, we surveyed more than 1800 people last over the past weekend who had completed the KTS-II to find out how the different temperaments sort out when it comes it current politics.  We focused on the current budget debt ceiling impasse between President Obama and Congressional Republicans.  One thing stood out strongly: President Obama, and anyone thinking of retiring some day, should wish for more Idealists.


Here is a summary of the questions and data covered in the survey:

Question 1:  How concerned are you about the current impasse between Congress and President Obama regarding raising the U.S. national debt ceiling?

Most of the country is either very concerned or somewhat concerned, with Guardians caring the most and Rationals the least. 85% of Guardians believe that a failure to come to a solution will have a serious or catastrophic effect on the U.S. economy, while only 75% of Rationals foresee serious problems. Knowing that Rationals dominate the Libertarian Party, this makes sense.  (Click on thumbnail for a more detailed look.

Question 2:  In the current debate on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, with whom do you most closely agree?

53% of Guardians, Artisans, and Rationals agree with the President; 60% of Idealists agree with him.  The Tea Party has the agreement of about 20% of the population, slightly more from Guardians and Artisans, slightly less from Idealists and Rationals.

When it comes to blame for the inability to solve the problem, more than half of respondents equally blame all parties involved.  But these is a wide chasm between the concrete Guardians and Artisans and the abstract Idealists and Rationals.  28% of the concrete types blame President Obama versus 19% blame on Congressional Republicans, while the abstract types feel completely oppositely: 28% blame Congressional republicans versus only 15% blaming the President.  (click on thumbnail for greater detail).

Social Security and Medicare are issues in which age of the respondent makes a big difference.  People under 35 are not very worried about these programs – at, least they are far more likely than their older counterparts  to believe that the programs should either be cut back or privatized.  However, even within each age group, there are wide differences among the 4 temperaments.  Idealists consistently believe more strongly that these programs are critical and should not be touched in the budget negotiations than the other tempaments, with Rationals (cold hearted as they are) are the least likely to share this viewpoint.  (Click on the thumbnail for more detail.)

Guardians and Artisans are both about equally split between approving and disapproving of President Obama’s job performance.  Rationals are slightly more positive.  Idealists, however, overwhelmingly are positive – they are more than 50% more likely to approve than to disapprove of his performance.

Finally, looking ahead at the 2012 election.  Among likely voters, if the election were held tomorrow, President Obama would be reelected in a walkover if only Idealists were to vote, as 55% would choose him in a wide open field.  Of the candidates currently running (or openly thinking about running), after the President Guardians favor Mitt Romney, and Artisans and Rationals favor Ron Paul.  Click on the thumbnail for details (candidates not scoring at least 3% with at least one temperament group are omitted from the chart for readability.  These included former senator Rick Santorum, former house speaker Newt Gingrich, and former governor Tim Pawlenty).

Now the bad news for President Obama and older folks:   Idealists only make up 15-20% of the population.

3 thoughts on “Politics and Temperament: Why President Obama Should Love Idealists”

  1. As someone who is very interested in politics and temperament, I found this post just fascinating! It confirms a lot of the assumptions I had before: Guardians tend to be more conservative, Idealists are more liberal, while Rationals (like myself) and Artisans seem to be libertarian. I’d also be interested to see how the temperaments line up when it comes to social/cultural/religious issues like gay marriage. Excellent post, keep up the good work!

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