What values?

This has been flogged to death by others before me, but after reading the Washington Post’s election coverage this morning, I still have to say it: I really wish pollsters would stop asking people if the most important factor in choosing a candidate is picking someone who “shares my values.” It’s extremely important to me to choose a candidate who shares my values — and yet, I would say no to that question, because we all know it’s a code for “has the same religious outlook I do” and because of the question order (that option usually follows questions about Iraq and the economy, one of which I probably would have already picked as most important, making it harder for me–and studies show, for most respondents–to change my mind and pick values instead). If the question is about religion, religion is what should be asked about. The question does not accurately reflect the experience of either those who answer yes or those who answer no. It’s not valid, and that’s the most important test of a survey item’s usefulness.

Posted on February 13th, 2008 by Katxena