WASHINGTON – Is Mitt Romney creative? Is Barack Obama prudent? How much does it matter in how you'll vote this election?
A survey designed by a social psychologist specializing in the measurement of character should provide a substantive sense of what voters are looking for in a president and what qualities they think both the leading candidates possess.
Neal H. Mayerson, chairman of the Cincinnati-based VIA Institute on Character, said he read prior to the 2008 election that roughly 30 percent of voters made their voting decisions based on candidates' positions on issues but more than 50 percent said an assessment of character was their most important consideration.
Mayerson created an online questionnaire that seeks to elicit where the candidates stand with voters on a range of 24 character traits within six broad criteria: wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence.
The questions delve into the candidates' perceived character strengths and look to determine what individual voters see as the essential traits they want in their next commander in chief. It also asks for demographic information to view how age, sex and other factors affect their choices.
Participants before the 2008 election leaned significantly toward seeking "open-mindedness" in their next president, following the two terms of President George W. Bush.
Mayerson said this tool gives people "an opportunity to express their perceptions of a candidate's character in a sophisticated and nuanced way."
You can participate in the survey now. It will take only a few minutes. Click here: Or cut and paste this link into your browser: http://caucus.viacharacter.org/www/
Closer to the election, we'll publish the results.