A series of chromeless multiple-phase shift lithographic test monitors have been previously introduced. This paper investigates various effects that impact the performance of these monitors, focusing primarily on PSM Polarimetry, a technique to monitor illumination polarization. The measurement sensitivities from a variety of scalar and rigorous electromagnetic simulations are compared to experimental results from three industrial quality multi-phase test reticles. This analysis enables the relative importance of the various effects to be identified and offers the industry unique insight into various issues associated with the photomask. First, the unavoidable electromagnetic interaction as light propagates through the multiple phase steps of the mask topography appears to account for about 10 to 20% of the lost sensitivity, when experimental results are compared to an ideal simulated case. The polarization dependence of this effect is analyzed, concluding that the 4-phase topography is more effective at manipulating TM polarization. Second, various difficulties in the fabrication of these complicated mask patterns are described and likely account for an additional 60-80% loss in sensitivity. Smaller effects are also described, associated with the photoresist, mask design and subtle differences in the proximity effect of TE and TM polarization of off-axis light at high numerical aperture. Finally, the question: "How practical is PSM polarimetry?" is considered. It is concluded that, despite many severe limiting factors, an accurately calibrated test reticle promises to monitor polarization in state-of-the-art lithography scanners to within about 2%.