Sunday, August 1, 2010

WWII Political Leaders Opinion Survey

Since activating my WWII Political Leaders Opinion Survey, I’ve received questions about what I’m actually planning on doing with the data. Explaining will introduce biased results from informed participants, but I’ll humor those of you who are so kind to help me.

Earlier this year, a conversation with some politically like-minded acquaintances alerted me to something I hadn’t realized before: When pressed for firm statements, people seem rather inconsistent in their views about the relative evilness of politicians and dictators. A ranking system is definitely being used, but the microeconomist in me (an alter ego that rarely gets any airtime) identified it as violating the property of transitivity. So, I decided to post this little survey (the first of three) to see what sort of trends I could find.

A number of people have brought to my attention additional research directions I could take. I just might do that. Or I’ll let them do so. The data will be publically available, and I’ll announce how to obtain the set after I close collection, clean the data, and report on my own findings.

Do I allow other people to advertize my survey? By all means, yes! I’m already using non-random collection methods that compromise the integrity of the sample. The priority right now is to get as many (completed) responses as possible, and everyone will just have to accept the data limitations.

I’ll continue to provide progress reports and answer questions over the next few months. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far. And please spread the word.

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