Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format

Kroh M (2007)
Public Opinion Quarterly 71(2): 204-220.

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Abstract
Although left-right items are a standard tool of public opinion research, there is little agreement about the optimal response format. Two disputes can be identified in the literature: (1) whether to provide respondents with a small or large number of answer categories, and (2) whether or not to administer the response scale including a midpoint. This study evaluates the performance of the 101, 11, and 10-point left-right scales, which directly speak to the two disputed aspects of measuring the left-right dimension. Drawing on data from a split ballot multitrait multimethod experiment carried out in a methodological pretest to the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), the analysis shows that the choice of a response format makes a difference in terms of data quality: the 11-point left-right scale produces the highest validity of left-right data closely followed by the 10-point scale. Moreover, an application from electoral research illustrates that the choice of response formats affects substantive interpretations about the nature of the left-right dimension. Since all three scales perform about equally well in terms of reliability and the ease of administration, the findings suggest that the I I -point left-right scale should be used in survey research.
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Kroh M. Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format. Public Opinion Quarterly. 2007;71(2):204-220.
Kroh, M. (2007). Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format. Public Opinion Quarterly, 71(2), 204-220. doi:10.1093/poq/nfm009
Kroh, M. (2007). Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format. Public Opinion Quarterly 71, 204-220.
Kroh, M., 2007. Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format. Public Opinion Quarterly, 71(2), p 204-220.
M. Kroh, “Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format”, Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 71, 2007, pp. 204-220.
Kroh, M.: Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format. Public Opinion Quarterly. 71, 204-220 (2007).
Kroh, Martin. “Measuring Left-Right Political Orientation: The Choice of Response Format”. Public Opinion Quarterly 71.2 (2007): 204-220.
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