I’ve been tossed at two of these “Make your mind up on the candidates” polls recently. I’ve found them both rather lacking. The most recent is USA Today’s thingie. 

http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/election2008/candidate-match-game.htm

The shortcomings of this one are many. Such as the fact that you can only select one answer. It starts on Question 1 for me. This is a question about history, but some of the answers apply to future choices. None of the answers match my views. Some of them have multiple correct answers, but only lets you give candidates credit for one. All in all, a horrible and misguiding way of picking a candidate.


Paraphrasing…

Should the US have invaded iraq and deposed hussein? 
a. No, we shouldn’t have. (No reason given.)
b. No, we shouldn’t have because of no WMD.
c. Yes, but we need to start reducing presence. (The second part of this is not related to the question.)
d. Yes, and we need to do the right thing and finish the job. (The second part isn’t related to the question.)

My answer would be a mix of A and D, but there’s no way to select multiple options. A. We shouldn’t have gone in because we just don’t have the fortitude to stick to something. Going in, lobbing a few bombs, and running away would do tremendous damage to our image. D. Now that we stupidly opened the can of worms, we have to finish the job, it’s the only right thing to do.

What’s worse is that when there’s a question where several answers are good, it only lets you choose one, then gives the candidates the same credit for a partially good answer as a horribly wrong answer. Take this one.

What is the best way to improve the tax system?
a. Make the tax cuts permanent
b. Let the tax cuts expire for the wealthy, more tax cuts for the middle class
c. Simplify the current tax system
d. Replace with a flat tax
e. Replace with the Fair tax
f. Scrap the current system and start over.

Really, D and E are just more specific versions of F, but when I said F, it didn’t give those saying D or E any credit at all. If this were a Condorcet election, I’d probably put them as…

FEDACB
A being 4th only because the first 3 would make the tax cuts permanent anyway. I believe firmly that A is absolutely essential, but the way the poll worked, the people that said A didn’t get any credit. B is horrible, ultimately leads to poverty for all, and should never be considered, thus everything beats it.

Another one is experience. Same thing as before, but this time the candidates can have multiple values. 
Personally, I’d give them 3-4 points for running a successful business, 2-3 for being in the military, 1-2 for being a governor, and 0-1 for being a senator/congresscritter/mayor.

Ah, with this really screwed up thing, Mike Gravel whom I agree with very little was almost as high as the ones I do agree with! I ended up with 4 people who randomly appeared in my top 3 depending on how I arranged the priorities and which of my answer sets I used. Guiliani, Romney, Thompson, and Paul. Really, the last two are no surprise… The first two were surprising as to how often they appeared where they did, other tests I’ve looked at, and parts of their stances I’ve looked at indicated that they should be below both Paul and Thompson consistently.