Much has been made in the press recently about the “Gender Gap” when it comes to politics. A recent poll by Pew Research shows that President Obama outpolls Mitt Romney by 20 percentage points among women, while among men the gap is only 3 points – a statistical tie.
At Keirsey.com, our research has long shown a noticeable difference between the 4 Temperaments when it comes to politics. Prior research has shown that Guardians tend to be the most politically conservative, while Idealists tend to be the most liberal. During our polling prior to the 2008 presidential vote, we found that Artisans made up the largest block of undecided voters late in the election cycle. Rationals are the most skeptical voters. Not surprisingly, these poll findings fall right in line with Keirsey Temperament Theory.
Between April 3-5, Keirsey Research surveyed 1,568 registered U.S. voters to measure the “Temperament Gap” for the current election cycle. With the recent Supreme Court arguments over the 2010 Health Care Act fresh in the news, and the 2012 primary campaign in full swing, we posed the following questions to our respondents:
- Do you approve of President Obama’s job performance at this time?
- Do you personally like President Obama?
- If the election was a head-to-head contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, for whom would you vote?
- The US Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week regarding the 2010 Federal Health Care Reform Law. How do you feel about the law itself?
- What do you think is the best system of health care insurance?
Jump to the rest of this article to find out where the Temperament gap is the widest.
While much has been made of the “Gender Gap”, our research shows that this “gap” is actually much more specific, and related as strongly to Temperament as gender. The
first question we asked, “Do you approve of President Obama’s job performance at this time?” demonstrates this quite clearly. Dividing our population into 8 groups, by both gender and Temperament, shows that in 6 of the 8 groups more people approve of the President’s performance than disapprove, and one is equally divided. Guardian males are the only group that disapproves of President Obama’s performance more than approves. In light of the “Gender Gap” research, it may be surprising to discover that the group that most approves of the Presidents performance is also male – Idealist Men. In fact, while Guardian men disapprove by a ratio of 45% to 36%, Idealist men approve his performance by an even wider margin of 54% to 29%. Without accounting for temperament, it is easy to see why other research would see a generic “Gender Gap” – Guardian men make up about 25% of the U.S. population, while Idealist men comprise perhaps 10%. Overall, Idealists are the most positive in their approval of the President, and Guardians the least. In this area, and as you will see as we look at the results of the other questions, our research shows that the Temperament Gap is wider than, and better explains, the differences in political beliefs.
The President enjoys strong personal popularity with all 8 temperament / gender segments. More than half of Artisans, Idealists, and Rationals personally like President Obama. Even
among Guardians, the Like to Dislike differential is more than 20% points. But here again, the highest “Like vs Dislike” differentials are among men – more than 50% points for Idealist men and 40% points for Rational men. The most ambivalent group is Rational women, with more than a third of this group neither liking or disliking the President.
If the election were to be held tomorrow, Mitt Romney would be in major trouble. The smallest gap between Barack Obama and Romney is 12%, in Obama’s favor, among
Guardian men at 45% to 33% with 22% who would either not vote or vote for another candidate. The gaps among the other groups are even larger. This does not bode well at all for Romney – our polling before the 2008 election showed much stronger support for John McCain among Guardian males, and that election did not end up being close. Guardian males make up the core conservative voting block in the U.S., and as such is a bellweather – if the Republican candidate loses in this group, the election will be a landslide for the Democrat.
The 2010 Healthcare Act remains controversial. We gave our respondents 5 choices to answer the question “The US Supreme Court is hearing aguments this week regarding the 2010 Federal Health Care Reform Law.“:
- I support it.
- I support it, but hope it will be improved in the future.
- I don’t support it, the law went to too far.
- I don’t support it, the law didn’t go far enough.
- No opinion.
Guardians are the least supportive of the act. The other 3 Temperaments are more in favor, with most supporting it will hoping it will be improved in the future. More importantly, the US Supreme Court has a strong Guardian bias. This poll points towards at least part of the Act being struck down.
In our last question, we asked “What do you think is the best system of health care insurance?“ and gave 3 answer choices:
- The present US system of private health insurance is best.
- A single-payer system, such as Canada’s, is best.
- Some other system than the current US or Canadian systems would be best.
The telling point in the data is this: even if the 2010 Act is struck down, change is coming. Among Guardian men, less than one third believe the current U.S. health system is best, slightly more believe Canada’s single-payer system is better. Billions of dollars of lobbying have succeeded in confusing people, and making change difficult, but when less than a third of Guardian men are for the status quo, things will not remain the same.