Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Who is John Roberts?

There's a set of survey questions the ANES asks every four years. Respondents are provided the name and asked what office that person holds, in a multiple choice format. The office holders are vice president, prime minister of the U.K., speaker of the House, and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The names, obviously, change depending on who holds that job, and these items are often used to construct a political knowledge index. Sometimes they stand alone, sometimes they're combined with other questions, such as which party controls the House or Senate.

For fun, let's take the chief justice question. That's John Roberts, in the 2012 survey. Respondents were provided his name and asked to answer what "job or political office" he now holds. If they didn't know, they were probed with "Well, what's your best guess?"

Some of my favorite answers are below. Note: spelling is from them as they could type in their answers in the national survey. I've added a few comments in parentheses.
  • Don't know where did you come up with these people (by the way, this respondent didn't know any of the office holders)
  •  Fox News Correspondent (there is a guy by this name on Fox)
  •  Hair stylist (love this answer)
  • I haven't a clue, I've been more preocupied with looking for a job than the election.
  •  I have no idea.//Is he the Supreme Court Chief Justice?//The only judge I know is Judge Turnbull.
  •  Member of Obamas team (some Republicans agree with this after the Obamacare ruling)
  •  Oh I don't know.//Chairman of the Republican Comittee, if he's a black guy, if I remember, the name and face.
  • i think he is part of the school dept. 
  • I dk I dk whose whom sometines I don't care makes me feel seilly n n=knowing but dont care
  •  Who the hell is that chic....? (I have no explanation for this)
This question is somewhat controversial, or as controversial as questions get among survey academics. Seems that for years the answers were coded as incorrect even when actually correct. If I answer "supreme court justice" that's technically correct even though he's Chief Justice. If I say "judge on the supreme court" that's correct too, but was getting marked as incorrect. But someone this survey answered "Republican judge." How do I code that? Correct? Kinda sorta correct? I've not yet taken a stab at this coding.

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