What does your first name say about your political leanings? That is the question from Crowdpac, a Palo Alto, California-based for-profit group that monitors politicians and political candidates.
Crowdpac bills itself as independent, non-partisan and interested in helping voters, “find the best matches on their ballot, and the best candidates to support on the issues that matter most to them.”
After collecting a significant amount of data about elected officials and candidates — voting records, campaign donations and the voting records of those who donated to a candidate — the organization developed a new piece of software that purports to predict how liberal or conservative someone will be, based solely on their first name.
This conservative libertarian was intrigued. At first, I tested the Crowdpac system with the formal version of my first name, “Michael.” The response scored me as a 1.4C.
The system rates a name on a scale that extends ten points to the left or ten points to the right. “Michael” puts me among the slightly right-of-center group.
However, using the more familiar version of “Mike,” my score changed from the 1.4C rating to a considerably more conservative 4.8C rating. This had me thinking, “Should I be introducing myself as Michael when traveling through liberal-infested waters and Mike while safely inside conservative confines?”
Eager to test Crowdpac’s system further, I began looking up the names people whose political leanings I knew…or thought that I knew.
Going right to the top of our company, “Glenn” was punched into the engine.
It was no surprise that the boss scored as a solid conservative, planted in the middle of the spectrum and nowhere near the fringes.
How about other leaders in the right-leaning media? Next up, “Rush.” Mr. Limbaugh’s 8.6C was among the highest conservative score anyone earned on the Crowdpac system. In fact, only one name — Doyle — scored a higher conservative rating than Rush.
How about the names of some of the liberal media’s stars? The first one that came to mind was Rachel Maddow.
Again, Crowdpac’s data appears to be on the money, giving “Rachel” a 6.2L rating.
Turning towards politicians, especially those with their eyes on the 2016 elections, I entered the names of a few of the frontrunners.
Presumptive candidate and current leader on many 2016 polls, Hillary Clinton’s name scored as you might anticipate.
Mrs. Clinton’s solid 7.5L rating was virtually matched on the right by Mitt Romney’s 7.0C.
Perhaps the most curious result came when I keyed in the name of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. What happened when we asked the Crowdpac computers to rate “Barack?”
If you are wondering about your name, test the Crowdpac system HERE.
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.