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The 2008 nomination battle between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack
Obama was the closest in modern Democratic Party history, and attracted
the close attention of the public. There seemed to be so little
difference between the candidates in terms of issues and policy, and the
split among voters appeared to be related to the perceptions of the
candidates by these voters. Were voters motivated in their choice by
Senator Clinton’s “experience,” Senator Obama’s “judgment,” ties to the
administration of Bill Clinton, “post-partisanship,” gender, race,
“electability,” or some other factors.?
A strategy was thus employed to exploit the advantages of Q methodology
in order to reveal a structure to these subjective viewpoints.
Ultimately, a 45-statement Q sample was culled from internet blogs
maintained by pundits and administered to participants in New
Wilmington, Pennsylvania (27 respondents) and Syracuse, New York (24
respondents). Factor analysis revealed three distinct viewpoints in
Pennsylvania and two distinct viewpoints in New York. A second-order
factor analysis was undertaken to determine the degree of similarity
between these factors.