Sarah Palin, ornery Alaskan

Well, maybe Gov. Palin is not, but Alaska sure is the nation's most disagreeable state.

Published September 23, 2008 5:39PM (EDT)

Let me confess upfront that I'm not sure what to make about the validity of this new state-by-state survey of American attributes, but it is kind of fun to look at.

As it happens, Alaska ranks last -- and I mean dead last, 51st, including the District of Columbia -- on both “agreeableness” and “conscientiousness.” Paging Todd Palin of the secessionist American Independence Party, Line 1! In fact, Alaskans also rank in the bottom four nationally in the study's other three attributes: “extraversion,” “neuroticism" and “openness.” Ouch: I mean, there just has to be a seasonal affective disorder component at work here. (Warning: The page with the interactive graphics loads slowly.)

Now, we of course cannot extrapolate with any confidence from a statewide result whether Gov. Sarah Palin is a disagreeable, close-minded, neurotic or unconscientious person. But we do know that she is a self-professed pit bull personality type, and she did leave Wasilla in debt. Also, there's the small matter of America's hockey mom maybe not paying close enough attention to what her teenage daugher was doing with the high school hockey superstar -- not to mention she seems more concerned about the child-bearing prospects of rapists, even if her own daughter were raped, than the reproductive rights of those who were raped or the ability of law enforcement officials to collect evidence to make rape convictions. But hey: She wears lipstick in fun colors -- that's friendly!

I guess, then, maybe it is possible to conclude that Palin has a close-minded, disagreeable and unconscientious personality. But see our own David Talbot and his Salon piece today on the subject of whether the superstar governor from America's most ornery state is just another "meanie."

By Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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