Unfortunately it took a scandalous retraction three years later to admit it as the study's authors originally reported that the results indicated that conservatives had psychotic personality traits and liberals had traits associated with high social desirability. This much-touted research study in fact revealed just the opposite:
The authors regret that there is an error in the published version of “Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies” American Journal of Political Science 56 (1), 34–51. The interpretation of the coding of the political attitude items in the descriptive and preliminary analyses portion of the manuscript was exactly reversed.
The study reveals that the correlation is crystal clear - liberals have personality traits associated with psychoticism, which the academics define as "uncooperative, hostile, troublesome, and socially withdrawn," as well as “manipulative".
Merriam-Webster defines psychotic as "having or relating to a very serious mental illness that makes you act strangely or believe things that are not true : relating to or suffering from psychosis."
Synonyms include "insane, mad, deranged, demented, crazed, and psychopathic."
This major retraction is trending right now with coverage from the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and RetractionWatch.com.
Biblically-speaking, one verse comes immediately to mind when I consider the sharp distinction between the two political ideologies in these latter days - 2 Thessalonians 2:7:
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
It is a modern phenomenon that political ideology worldwide has fallen so neatly into conservative and liberal camps, even within Christianity itself, and I think this may have something to do with the prophetic implications of Jesus' parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13:24-30:
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’
“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
One side (liberalism) believes that murder is permissible (abortion, euthanasia, infanticide), sexual immorality is just an issue of personal preference, and religious and moral restraints are evil, repressive, racist, etc. Even people who claim to be Christian yet hold to liberal ideologies tend to find far more common ground with everyone except conservative Christians because of the stark contrast in moral views.
The other side (conservatism) believes that laws should be respected, morality should be upheld, and in the case of conservative Christians, God's Word should be believed and taken at face-value.
At the heart of it, one side is driven by lawlessness and is pushing for more lawlessness. The other side is pushing for obedience and is trying to restore order and morality.
An analogy that I would make would be two toddlers playing with blocks in the toy room. One toddler keeps building things with the blocks and the other keeps knocking the blocks down - deeply upsetting toddler #1. The former's motivation is to build and create order, the latter's is to destroy, free from all restraint.
Everyone sins, Believers and non-Believers, conservative and liberal Christians alike. "Sinless perfectionists" who can be found in every denomination would tell you otherwise, but the truth remains (1 John 1:8-10).
Yet here is the profound truth: one side upholds God's moral law as is and the other side dismisses it or justifies it away or says it isn't universally applicable or claims it was just ancient cultural custom.
Since both sides commit sin, the distinction is one of belief, not merely practice. If a true Christian sins (and they will), they will believe it to be wrong and will see the necessity of the Cross as propitiation. The fake Christian will claim to believe in Christ, but will justify all manner of sin and licentiousness and twist God's Word while doing it - ultimately because they don't recognize their sin as an actual transgression against God's moral law and don't believe the Cross was necessary for their satisfaction. Both are sinners in need of a Savior, but one has a penitent heart and one does not. One seeks for good and one seeks for evil. One recognizes their deep need for God's forgiveness and mercy and so obtains it and the other tramples the blood of Christ underfoot and so will face a judgment based on works (Hebrews 10:26-29).
For two millennia the wheat and tares have grown together - nearly impossible to distinguish because they looked the same and said the same things. But in their heart of hearts the tares did not believe in Christ and God's Word. But now, in these last of the last days, they are easily distinguished and I think it possible that God has used political ideology as one of the means to finally expose the tares for what they are.
How can a Christian justify murder? How can a Christian claim Jesus is but one of many ways to God? How can a Christian, in defiance of dozens of scriptures, claim that a man can marry a man or that a man can become a woman? The simple answer is that they can't because these are not actually Christians. They do not believe God's Word and so unlike Abraham whose "faith was credited to him as righteousness" (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3, Romans 4:5, Romans 4:22) they will stand before the God of the universe and will resort to arguing with Him over why He should let them through based on their works (Matthew 7:22). Jesus will call them evildoers and tell them to depart (Matthew 7:23) because they are only impenitent children intent on destroying things and who, in disbelieving God, sided with the unbelievers in persecuting Christ and His Church.