SAN DIEGO - The 2016 presidential election is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing elections in United States history. A few websites are making the rounds that claim to help undecided voters cut through the noise and focus on issues. However, that may not be enough.
Websites like ISideWith.com survey a person on a number of issues from the environment to national security. ISideWith.com also allows voters to weigh how important a given issue is to them on a scale from “not important” to “most important.”
At the end of the poll, the webpage will match you with candidates based on a percentage and ranks the those that agree with you on the issues.
“Reminds me of the fact that knowledge is power and it’s very good to know who lines up with your views ideologically,” said political analyst and San Diego State University professor Wendy Patrick.
However, Patrick said the sites are a good starting point for undecided voters or for someone looking for confirmation.
“So to that extent, websites that provide more information can be helpful,” she said. However she warned that the surveys are only skin deep.
“To me, I think you’d need more than that … You want to learn a little more about the person behind the politician and many people can’t do that solely from reading the words on a website,” she said.
Patrick said a voter still needs to believe the candidate.
“They want to have a pledge of allegiance for example. They want to know more about, is somebody actually going to follow their mouth with their money?” she said. “Historically, believe it or not, many elections including presidential elections are decided on the grounds of likeability.”