Where you fit politically

The Liberal/Conservative dichotomy does not really explain where people are on the political spectrum.  There are different kinds of conservatives and different kinds of liberals.  This has been a theme of a number of our blog posts.  But now the Pew Research Center has formulated a “political typology” that consists of nine different positions:

Staunch Conservatives take extremely conservative positions on nearly all issues – on the size and role of government, on economics, foreign policy, social issues and moral concerns. Most agree with the Tea Party and even more very strongly disapprove of Barack Obama’s job performance. A second core group of Republicans – Main Street Republicans – also is conservative, but less consistently so.

On the left, Solid Liberals express diametrically opposing views from the Staunch Conservatives on virtually every issue. While Solid Liberals are predominantly white, minorities make up greater shares of New Coalition Democrats – who include nearly equal numbers 0f whites, African Americans and Hispanics – and Hard-Pressed Democrats, who are about a third African American. Unlike Solid Liberals, both of these last two groups are highly religious and socially conservative. New Coalition Democrats are distinguished by their upbeat attitudes in the face of economic struggles.

Independents have played a determinative role in the last three national elections. But the three groups in the center of the political typology have very little in common, aside from their avoidance of partisan labels. Libertarians and Post-Moderns are largely white, well-educated and affluent. They also share a relatively secular outlook on some social issues, including homosexuality and abortion. But Republican-oriented Libertarians are far more critical of government, less supportive of environmental regulations, and more supportive of business than are Post-Moderns, most of whom lean Democratic.

Disaffecteds, the other main group of independents, are financially stressed and cynical about politics. Most lean to the Republican Party, though they differ from the core Republican groups in their support for increased government aid to the poor. Another group in the center, Bystanders, largely consign themselves to the political sidelines and for the most part are not included in this analysis.

via Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

You can even take a quiz to see which one of these you are.  This is not one of those Facebook quizzes, like seeing which Star Trek character you are.  This is sophisticated social science research!

And yet, it still seems to leave a lot of political ideologies out:  Where are the Burkean conservatives?  The neo-conservatives?  The paleo-conservatives?  The crunchy conservatives?  The Wendell Berry conservatives?  The localists?  The Reconstructionists?  Where are the socialists?  The Greens?  The Anarchists?  The Jihadists?  The Marxists?

I think the true political spectrum is even more complicated than this typology shows.

Take the quiz.  Does it peg you?  Or are there other issues that this study doesn’t even raise that are more definitive, as far as you are concerned?

HT:  Jackie

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Yea! I passed the test. I’m a New Coalition Democrat!

  • Jimmy Veith

    Yea! I passed the test. I’m a New Coalition Democrat!

  • Joe

    The test is very poorly done.

  • Joe

    The test is very poorly done.

  • trotk

    What a junk survey. It labeled me a post-modern.

  • trotk

    What a junk survey. It labeled me a post-modern.

  • Dennis Peskey

    Wednesday morning confessional booth: The test labeled me a “New Coalition Democrat”. I’ll leave the “pass/fail” diachotomy to more qualified personnel.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    Wednesday morning confessional booth: The test labeled me a “New Coalition Democrat”. I’ll leave the “pass/fail” diachotomy to more qualified personnel.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Tom Hering

    “Solid Liberal” along with 14% of the public. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    “Solid Liberal” along with 14% of the public. :-D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Another good political quiz is the political compass. Rather than just left / right, they plot your score on a graph with a vertical axis for authoritarian/libertarian. They have comparisons to Europe and Canada etc.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Another good political quiz is the political compass. Rather than just left / right, they plot your score on a graph with a vertical axis for authoritarian/libertarian. They have comparisons to Europe and Canada etc.

    http://www.politicalcompass.org/

  • Ben

    Libertarian. who knew?

  • Ben

    Libertarian. who knew?

  • SAL

    According to this I’m a Disaffected. I check nearly every issue to fit into that group.

    I can understand why that group would be disaffected as they have no political representation currently.

  • SAL

    According to this I’m a Disaffected. I check nearly every issue to fit into that group.

    I can understand why that group would be disaffected as they have no political representation currently.

  • Ryan

    I am a ‘New Coalition Democrat’… Really? Weird. The description doesn’t fit me or my voting record.

  • Ryan

    I am a ‘New Coalition Democrat’… Really? Weird. The description doesn’t fit me or my voting record.

  • Steve

    To get a really accurate determination of your political make-up, you need to take a few of these tests (especially the ones with an x and y bi-polar graph), because each test asks questions a little differently (some have an option of four responses, some have five, etc.). After you take a few, you’ll see yourself trending in a certain direction.

    Me? A strongly religious, patriotic, quasi-social con tea party-esque moderate libertarian. Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • Steve

    To get a really accurate determination of your political make-up, you need to take a few of these tests (especially the ones with an x and y bi-polar graph), because each test asks questions a little differently (some have an option of four responses, some have five, etc.). After you take a few, you’ll see yourself trending in a certain direction.

    Me? A strongly religious, patriotic, quasi-social con tea party-esque moderate libertarian. Yeah, that sounds about right.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    The survey lacks nuance. I don’t disagree with the label it gave me (staunch Republican), but a lot of people fall between the either/or choices offered.

  • http://www.brandywinebooks.net Lars Walker

    The survey lacks nuance. I don’t disagree with the label it gave me (staunch Republican), but a lot of people fall between the either/or choices offered.

  • Dennis Peskey

    I believe the disassociation with the test results are a reflection of the nature of the questions, i.e. this qualification is most telling, “Another group in the center, Bystanders, largely consign themselves to the political sidelines and for the most part are not included in this analysis.” If it were indeed possible to ascertain the political identity of a person with a simple twenty question yes/no test, imagine how streamlined this would render presidential politics. It is not quite as simple as “take the test, post the results, therein lies your candidates”.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    I believe the disassociation with the test results are a reflection of the nature of the questions, i.e. this qualification is most telling, “Another group in the center, Bystanders, largely consign themselves to the political sidelines and for the most part are not included in this analysis.” If it were indeed possible to ascertain the political identity of a person with a simple twenty question yes/no test, imagine how streamlined this would render presidential politics. It is not quite as simple as “take the test, post the results, therein lies your candidates”.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • SKPeterson

    I came out as libertarian, surprise, surprise. Although I don’t fit very well with some of the other demographic as I go to church just about every week, unless I’m travelling or sick and I think homosexuality should be discouraged (but still legal – that’s where the nuances to positions come in) and abortion should be illegal.

    I do like the political compass, though as it doesn’t place people along a linear continuum but places them in a graph space. There are graphs that also show how you line up with various historical figures. On the compass I fall right in between libertarian and right, generally reflecting my more conservative moral stances – which even here the quiz authors seem to equate with policy prescriptions.

  • SKPeterson

    I came out as libertarian, surprise, surprise. Although I don’t fit very well with some of the other demographic as I go to church just about every week, unless I’m travelling or sick and I think homosexuality should be discouraged (but still legal – that’s where the nuances to positions come in) and abortion should be illegal.

    I do like the political compass, though as it doesn’t place people along a linear continuum but places them in a graph space. There are graphs that also show how you line up with various historical figures. On the compass I fall right in between libertarian and right, generally reflecting my more conservative moral stances – which even here the quiz authors seem to equate with policy prescriptions.

  • Ryan

    The political compass places me dead center. Looking over the pew test there is a lack of nuance… He first question is immigration good or does it threaten our cultural values… Well I agree with both, many questions are like that. I like Steve @10, that’s about where my political leanings fall.

  • Ryan

    The political compass places me dead center. Looking over the pew test there is a lack of nuance… He first question is immigration good or does it threaten our cultural values… Well I agree with both, many questions are like that. I like Steve @10, that’s about where my political leanings fall.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Looking for Bike Bubba, He is wanted to continue the conversation one way or another on the thread “New movement of the Holy Spirit” if anyone sees him would you pass it along. I would like him to answer the question there, before he again asserts the same uneducated definition of baptism on another post, though he has been corrected numerous times.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Looking for Bike Bubba, He is wanted to continue the conversation one way or another on the thread “New movement of the Holy Spirit” if anyone sees him would you pass it along. I would like him to answer the question there, before he again asserts the same uneducated definition of baptism on another post, though he has been corrected numerous times.

  • Jon

    Like Tom @5, solid liberal here.

  • Jon

    Like Tom @5, solid liberal here.

  • http://matthaeusglyptes.blogspot.com matthaeus glyptes

    This quiz left out the most important political issue: life, its sustenance and protection from beginning to end. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anything about abortion, euthanasia, or end of life care.

  • http://matthaeusglyptes.blogspot.com matthaeus glyptes

    This quiz left out the most important political issue: life, its sustenance and protection from beginning to end. Maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see anything about abortion, euthanasia, or end of life care.

  • Aaron Root

    Staunch Conservative, or so I’m told. But with questions like these, who knows? Consider this choice:

    “Immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents” v. “Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care”

    Most of the conservatives I know are concerned about illegal immigration and the rule of law, not immigration in general. This distinction has been made so many times by so many that it begins to look like intentional obfuscation by the good folks at Pew to continue to frame it this way.

  • Aaron Root

    Staunch Conservative, or so I’m told. But with questions like these, who knows? Consider this choice:

    “Immigrants today strengthen our country because of their hard work and talents” v. “Immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care”

    Most of the conservatives I know are concerned about illegal immigration and the rule of law, not immigration in general. This distinction has been made so many times by so many that it begins to look like intentional obfuscation by the good folks at Pew to continue to frame it this way.

  • George

    I do believe the weakness of this test is in that it identifies political affiliation by what policies are espoused or supported (without even using a comprehensive list of policy topics to determine this) rather than by ascertaining the underlying political philosophy which gives rise to policies. Two people can espouse the same policy for two very very different reasons: does this make them politically synonymous? Not at all.

    As an example: Ron Paul is an isolationist that is generally against wars and imperialism for he views them as antithetical to liberty. Alexander Tille on the other hand was an isolationist that was generally against wars and imperialism because he believed that, in accordance with his social darwinism, wars lead to the death of the stronger and more courageous elements in society, leaving the weaker (that is, those unqualified physically for war) to reproduce; this would all lead to genetic degeneracy. Do Ron Paul and Alexander Tille espouse the same political philosophy? Not in the slightest; and yet they espouse the same policy at the end of the day.

  • George

    I do believe the weakness of this test is in that it identifies political affiliation by what policies are espoused or supported (without even using a comprehensive list of policy topics to determine this) rather than by ascertaining the underlying political philosophy which gives rise to policies. Two people can espouse the same policy for two very very different reasons: does this make them politically synonymous? Not at all.

    As an example: Ron Paul is an isolationist that is generally against wars and imperialism for he views them as antithetical to liberty. Alexander Tille on the other hand was an isolationist that was generally against wars and imperialism because he believed that, in accordance with his social darwinism, wars lead to the death of the stronger and more courageous elements in society, leaving the weaker (that is, those unqualified physically for war) to reproduce; this would all lead to genetic degeneracy. Do Ron Paul and Alexander Tille espouse the same political philosophy? Not in the slightest; and yet they espouse the same policy at the end of the day.

  • Abby

    The first test (Pew) identified me as “Staunch Conservative.” Not surprising. Except that I disagreed with the wording of some of the responses. The second test probably got closer to me: Economic/Left/Right .50–right in the middle, but to the right; and Libertarian/Authoritarian 0.21. Not too close to Margaret Thatcher, but still on her “side.” In a class once we were asked to identify any global political leaders that we admired and agreed with. My two choices were Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Still sums me up.

  • Abby

    The first test (Pew) identified me as “Staunch Conservative.” Not surprising. Except that I disagreed with the wording of some of the responses. The second test probably got closer to me: Economic/Left/Right .50–right in the middle, but to the right; and Libertarian/Authoritarian 0.21. Not too close to Margaret Thatcher, but still on her “side.” In a class once we were asked to identify any global political leaders that we admired and agreed with. My two choices were Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir. Still sums me up.

  • rlewer

    This is definitely not “sophisticated social science research.” There is a difference between immigration and illegal immigration. That is a typical liberal dodge. This is an important issue not addressed.

    Life issues were not addressed.

    If you are going to construct a test where people have to choose the less objectionable answer instead of an answer you agree with, you need a lot more questions (as in 0ccupational preference tests).

  • rlewer

    This is definitely not “sophisticated social science research.” There is a difference between immigration and illegal immigration. That is a typical liberal dodge. This is an important issue not addressed.

    Life issues were not addressed.

    If you are going to construct a test where people have to choose the less objectionable answer instead of an answer you agree with, you need a lot more questions (as in 0ccupational preference tests).

  • Jerry

    “Radical” Lutherans should not attempt to use this test. It only provides two choices, and Radical Lutherans will always want the third choice.

  • Jerry

    “Radical” Lutherans should not attempt to use this test. It only provides two choices, and Radical Lutherans will always want the third choice.

  • Louis

    Bad survey. Too either/or. I got a “New Coalition Democrat”….

    But I concur with sg, the Political Compass she links to is by far superior to most of these quizzes. Also, it is not linked to any specific politcal system/country – which is good, since the words liberal and conservative mean different things in different countries.

  • Louis

    Bad survey. Too either/or. I got a “New Coalition Democrat”….

    But I concur with sg, the Political Compass she links to is by far superior to most of these quizzes. Also, it is not linked to any specific politcal system/country – which is good, since the words liberal and conservative mean different things in different countries.

  • DonS

    Aaron Root @ 18, and rlewer @ 21 have it right. No distinction between legal and illegal immigration? And yes/no answers only? Hmm.

    On the Political Compass, I am identified as an “Authoritarian Libertarian”, whatever that means, very near the center. Sounds contradictory :-)

    Of course, the charts on that page also identify Hitler on the libertarian side of center. Hitler a libertarian? I wonder who took the test for him?

    Labels are good for anthropological and political research, but they definitely have their limits.

  • DonS

    Aaron Root @ 18, and rlewer @ 21 have it right. No distinction between legal and illegal immigration? And yes/no answers only? Hmm.

    On the Political Compass, I am identified as an “Authoritarian Libertarian”, whatever that means, very near the center. Sounds contradictory :-)

    Of course, the charts on that page also identify Hitler on the libertarian side of center. Hitler a libertarian? I wonder who took the test for him?

    Labels are good for anthropological and political research, but they definitely have their limits.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Huh. Reading through the definitions Veith posted, I really wasn’t sure which category, if any, fit me best. Just took the quiz, and it said I’m a “Post-Modern”.

    I suppose that works — not that it’ll stop Porcell from labeling me a raving liberal. Join us, Trotk (@3), join us! Together, we will deconstruct the world! ;)

    Also, to the people complaining about the quiz, it’s a computer quiz. Of course it lacks nuance! It’s not going to make judgment calls. It does its calculations and then it rounds. It doesn’t distinguish between 50% and 100%, or 49% and 0%. And it’s attempting to tell you something about yourself — by placing you in one (out of nine) pigeonholes — that you possibly couldn’t tell the rest of us without a lengthy discussion and a number of caveats.

    The “political compass” test is effectively no better, as it boils everything down to a whopping two axes, not a mere one. If political ideology were truly able to be reduced to an either/or (or somewhere in the middle) on a handful of fundamental questions, I don’t think we’d have the difficulty talking about it that we do.

    Might as well try to make a two-axis religion test, as well. Let’s say, Law vs. Gospel and traditional vs. conservative.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Huh. Reading through the definitions Veith posted, I really wasn’t sure which category, if any, fit me best. Just took the quiz, and it said I’m a “Post-Modern”.

    I suppose that works — not that it’ll stop Porcell from labeling me a raving liberal. Join us, Trotk (@3), join us! Together, we will deconstruct the world! ;)

    Also, to the people complaining about the quiz, it’s a computer quiz. Of course it lacks nuance! It’s not going to make judgment calls. It does its calculations and then it rounds. It doesn’t distinguish between 50% and 100%, or 49% and 0%. And it’s attempting to tell you something about yourself — by placing you in one (out of nine) pigeonholes — that you possibly couldn’t tell the rest of us without a lengthy discussion and a number of caveats.

    The “political compass” test is effectively no better, as it boils everything down to a whopping two axes, not a mere one. If political ideology were truly able to be reduced to an either/or (or somewhere in the middle) on a handful of fundamental questions, I don’t think we’d have the difficulty talking about it that we do.

    Might as well try to make a two-axis religion test, as well. Let’s say, Law vs. Gospel and traditional vs. conservative.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and on the political compass test, I scored -3.23 on the authoritarian/libertarian scale (making me fairly libertarian), and a scant 1.12 on the economic left/right scale, placing me ever so slightly on the right side of the scale.

    Not, again, that this will in any way preclude Porcell from labeling me a hard-core left-wing statist.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Oh, and on the political compass test, I scored -3.23 on the authoritarian/libertarian scale (making me fairly libertarian), and a scant 1.12 on the economic left/right scale, placing me ever so slightly on the right side of the scale.

    Not, again, that this will in any way preclude Porcell from labeling me a hard-core left-wing statist.

  • Louis

    Don’t tell anyone, but on PC quiz, I score in the libertarian left quadrant, but not too far from the centre….. :)

    Actually, I tend to gravitate to Centrism and Realpolitik, most of the time anyway. Because there is the Ideal, and there is Reality…

  • Louis

    Don’t tell anyone, but on PC quiz, I score in the libertarian left quadrant, but not too far from the centre….. :)

    Actually, I tend to gravitate to Centrism and Realpolitik, most of the time anyway. Because there is the Ideal, and there is Reality…

  • SKPeterson

    Todd is a statist! Todd is a statist! Todd is a statist! Say it three time fast, click your heals, cross your fingers, close your eyes, and BAM! You’re in Portland.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd is a statist! Todd is a statist! Todd is a statist! Say it three time fast, click your heals, cross your fingers, close your eyes, and BAM! You’re in Portland.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Libertarian, and it’s a label I’ll gladly take, although I didn’t like the way things were worded on the survey.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Libertarian, and it’s a label I’ll gladly take, although I didn’t like the way things were worded on the survey.

  • Steve Billingsley

    What an awful test. The questions are caricatures actual political convictions. The options sometimes read in a way that pretends the only options on a particular issue are to be either Rachel Maddow or Glenn Beck. There is a lot of ground that is just plain left out. The immigration question is just flat out painful.
    I think that this kind of questionnaire as a political typing tool is useless at best and outright deceptive at worst.

  • Steve Billingsley

    What an awful test. The questions are caricatures actual political convictions. The options sometimes read in a way that pretends the only options on a particular issue are to be either Rachel Maddow or Glenn Beck. There is a lot of ground that is just plain left out. The immigration question is just flat out painful.
    I think that this kind of questionnaire as a political typing tool is useless at best and outright deceptive at worst.

  • Louis

    DonS

    On the Political Compass, I am identified as an “Authoritarian Libertarian”, whatever that means, very near the center. Sounds contradictory

    There is no way you can plot as an “Authoritarian Libertarian”. They are the opposite extremes on the y-axis of the graph. You are confused, but not in the way you think.. :)

  • Louis

    DonS

    On the Political Compass, I am identified as an “Authoritarian Libertarian”, whatever that means, very near the center. Sounds contradictory

    There is no way you can plot as an “Authoritarian Libertarian”. They are the opposite extremes on the y-axis of the graph. You are confused, but not in the way you think.. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I still think most of you are missing the point on this. The point is not to find questions you’re very comfortable answering yes or no to. I don’t even think such questions exist. Or if they did, they would be uselessly specific, seperating out only a very small percentage of the population from the rest.

    Yes, people’s ideas exist in shades of gray, not typically in black and white. Yes, the more loosely you hold to any particular tenet, the more likely it is that you might just as well be rounded into a different result by the computer.

    But the point of this analysis is to discern what “clusters” there are in society. From the Pew page Veith linked to:

    Using a statistical procedure called cluster analysis, individuals are assigned to one of the eight core typology groups based on their position on nine scales of social and political values – each of which is determined by responses to two or three survey questions – as well as their party identification. Several different cluster solutions were evaluated for their effectiveness in producing cohesive groups that are distinct from one another, substantively meaningful and large enough in size to be analytically practical. The final solution selected to produce the political typology was judged to be strongest from a statistical point of view and to be most persuasive from a substantive point of view. As in past typologies, a measure of political attentiveness and voting participation was used to extract the “Bystander” group, people who are largely not engaged or involved in politics, before performing the cluster analysis.

    You can go to that link above and read many pages on the methodology involved here.

    But the point of this study was not to produce a political-typing quiz. It was to discern the clusters in political thought.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I still think most of you are missing the point on this. The point is not to find questions you’re very comfortable answering yes or no to. I don’t even think such questions exist. Or if they did, they would be uselessly specific, seperating out only a very small percentage of the population from the rest.

    Yes, people’s ideas exist in shades of gray, not typically in black and white. Yes, the more loosely you hold to any particular tenet, the more likely it is that you might just as well be rounded into a different result by the computer.

    But the point of this analysis is to discern what “clusters” there are in society. From the Pew page Veith linked to:

    Using a statistical procedure called cluster analysis, individuals are assigned to one of the eight core typology groups based on their position on nine scales of social and political values – each of which is determined by responses to two or three survey questions – as well as their party identification. Several different cluster solutions were evaluated for their effectiveness in producing cohesive groups that are distinct from one another, substantively meaningful and large enough in size to be analytically practical. The final solution selected to produce the political typology was judged to be strongest from a statistical point of view and to be most persuasive from a substantive point of view. As in past typologies, a measure of political attentiveness and voting participation was used to extract the “Bystander” group, people who are largely not engaged or involved in politics, before performing the cluster analysis.

    You can go to that link above and read many pages on the methodology involved here.

    But the point of this study was not to produce a political-typing quiz. It was to discern the clusters in political thought.

  • DonS

    Good point, Louis. I definitely mis-read the results the first time through. Too hasty, I guess.

    I re-took the test and got a +4.62 (just short of halfway between the vertical axis and the right side of the graph) on the economic scale, and a -0.51 on the Social/Libertarian scale. Probably just about right. My strong anti-abortion stance and pro-death penalty position probably kept me from falling more libertarian, but that’s OK.

  • DonS

    Good point, Louis. I definitely mis-read the results the first time through. Too hasty, I guess.

    I re-took the test and got a +4.62 (just short of halfway between the vertical axis and the right side of the graph) on the economic scale, and a -0.51 on the Social/Libertarian scale. Probably just about right. My strong anti-abortion stance and pro-death penalty position probably kept me from falling more libertarian, but that’s OK.

  • helen

    I once watched a “financial analyst” take a graph that looked like a shot gun blast had hit it, draw a line through the middle of the dots, and write a paper arguing that the future results would fall along that line.

    This “survey” gave me the same feeling of “guesswork masquerading as fact”. I’m afraid I’ll be reminded of it every time I see “according to a Pew Survey”…. which I thought meant something, till a few minutes ago!

  • helen

    I once watched a “financial analyst” take a graph that looked like a shot gun blast had hit it, draw a line through the middle of the dots, and write a paper arguing that the future results would fall along that line.

    This “survey” gave me the same feeling of “guesswork masquerading as fact”. I’m afraid I’ll be reminded of it every time I see “according to a Pew Survey”…. which I thought meant something, till a few minutes ago!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think it’s funny that I’m measured as significantly more libertarian than DonS (@33). And no, Don, a “strong anti-abortion stance” doesn’t distinguish us (as you know). And I only checked “agree” on the death penalty question, like I did on most questions on the compass test.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I think it’s funny that I’m measured as significantly more libertarian than DonS (@33). And no, Don, a “strong anti-abortion stance” doesn’t distinguish us (as you know). And I only checked “agree” on the death penalty question, like I did on most questions on the compass test.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 35:

    Wouldn’t you consider yourself to be more libertarian than me, on the social/libertarian scale? That seems logical. Now, I would expect you to be to the left of me on the horizontal axis (economic), maybe slightly to the left of the vertical axis, but not so far as some here might expect. Is that about right?

    I’d have to go back and evaluate the questions again to see why it might be that I was pretty much on the line on the vertical axis. I put “Agree” on the death penalty question, which is an authoritarian response, I imagine. I didn’t use “strongly” too often in either direction.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 35:

    Wouldn’t you consider yourself to be more libertarian than me, on the social/libertarian scale? That seems logical. Now, I would expect you to be to the left of me on the horizontal axis (economic), maybe slightly to the left of the vertical axis, but not so far as some here might expect. Is that about right?

    I’d have to go back and evaluate the questions again to see why it might be that I was pretty much on the line on the vertical axis. I put “Agree” on the death penalty question, which is an authoritarian response, I imagine. I didn’t use “strongly” too often in either direction.

  • trotk

    In both tests (I was 2.00 right / -.82 down on political compass, thus economically slightly neo-liberalist and ever-so slightly libertarian) the issue that I have is with the choice of question topics, not the lack of nuance in the answers. I find myself saying that I wasn’t asked about most of the issues that I believe define my political views.

    Perhaps I am a political post-modern, then. I must not believe in political meta-narratives. Is it possible to be an agrarian-medieval-romantic-mystical-rationalist-Christian? Or is that too post-modern?

  • trotk

    In both tests (I was 2.00 right / -.82 down on political compass, thus economically slightly neo-liberalist and ever-so slightly libertarian) the issue that I have is with the choice of question topics, not the lack of nuance in the answers. I find myself saying that I wasn’t asked about most of the issues that I believe define my political views.

    Perhaps I am a political post-modern, then. I must not believe in political meta-narratives. Is it possible to be an agrarian-medieval-romantic-mystical-rationalist-Christian? Or is that too post-modern?

  • Grace

    Helen @34 “This “survey” gave me the same feeling of “guesswork masquerading as fact”. I’m afraid I’ll be reminded of it every time I see “according to a Pew Survey”…. which I thought meant something, till a few minutes ago!”

    I agree with you Helen.

    I was given the title of; Staunch Conservative. The survey was skewed by the questions.

  • Grace

    Helen @34 “This “survey” gave me the same feeling of “guesswork masquerading as fact”. I’m afraid I’ll be reminded of it every time I see “according to a Pew Survey”…. which I thought meant something, till a few minutes ago!”

    I agree with you Helen.

    I was given the title of; Staunch Conservative. The survey was skewed by the questions.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@36), maybe it’s not that odd. I guess I’m confusing your economic ideology (more right-wing than mine) with libertarianism. Which, of course, is to misunderstand the point of the compass sorter.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@36), maybe it’s not that odd. I guess I’m confusing your economic ideology (more right-wing than mine) with libertarianism. Which, of course, is to misunderstand the point of the compass sorter.

  • Porcell

    This quiz located me as a staunch conservative, though given the either or questions, there were several lacking nuance that forced one into a dubious choice. The truth is that such quizzes are basically crude. They don’t account for anything close to the subtlety of most individuals.

    This whole notion of social “science” is bogus. The authors of it speak of “cluster analysis,” though most people are complex enough to defy such analysis.

    Where would this “analytical” quiz fairly place Dietrich Bonhoeffer in any of its supposed analytical categories?

  • Porcell

    This quiz located me as a staunch conservative, though given the either or questions, there were several lacking nuance that forced one into a dubious choice. The truth is that such quizzes are basically crude. They don’t account for anything close to the subtlety of most individuals.

    This whole notion of social “science” is bogus. The authors of it speak of “cluster analysis,” though most people are complex enough to defy such analysis.

    Where would this “analytical” quiz fairly place Dietrich Bonhoeffer in any of its supposed analytical categories?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@40), explain to us, then, how cluster analysis works, that you can demonstrate for us why it fails here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@40), explain to us, then, how cluster analysis works, that you can demonstrate for us why it fails here.

  • moallen

    On the first survey I took it twice – answering a few questions the opposite since I was not quite sure where I fell (felt the answers gave only false choices): so I was either disaffected or main street republican.

    On the survey with the axis, I came out libertarian left – hmmm, not sure about that – I looked back through my answers, and can’t see where this came from. I was slightly left and a few blocks down in libertarian. I think believing that people can be just as “moral” without religion and supporting the arts makes you left??

  • moallen

    On the first survey I took it twice – answering a few questions the opposite since I was not quite sure where I fell (felt the answers gave only false choices): so I was either disaffected or main street republican.

    On the survey with the axis, I came out libertarian left – hmmm, not sure about that – I looked back through my answers, and can’t see where this came from. I was slightly left and a few blocks down in libertarian. I think believing that people can be just as “moral” without religion and supporting the arts makes you left??

  • SKPeterson

    Why is social science bogus? It only begins to tread in bogusity when it proclaims exactitude, but social elements can be studied with a rigorous scientific methodology. Unless, of course, one thinks that methodologies are bogus.

    I’ve done cluster analysis before, it’s an interesting methodology, of particular use in imagery analysis. Essentially what it does it look at common features and then group observations by their standard deviations and means. Thus, the observations that are clustered together are more like the other observations in the cluster than they are like those in other clusters. From this one can begin to make sense of various spectral features and build up a better analytical model. In a social science context, the observations are people and the clusters are grouped by people who answered questions most consistently with others included in the group. Now, there are two approaches – and maybe Todd can comment as he’s read more of the methodology section of the study than I – 1) you create questions and use a priori categories to cluster the answers, or 2) you create questions and then run the cluster analysis, then naming or defining the groups that emerge post-clustering. You also determine the number of allowable clusters, so in this study they defined, either through the clustering results, or a priori, 9 cluster types. Depending on how they approached the clustering process you can draw different conclusions as to the usefulness of the study, but you can’t argue that the methodology is bogus up front.

  • SKPeterson

    Why is social science bogus? It only begins to tread in bogusity when it proclaims exactitude, but social elements can be studied with a rigorous scientific methodology. Unless, of course, one thinks that methodologies are bogus.

    I’ve done cluster analysis before, it’s an interesting methodology, of particular use in imagery analysis. Essentially what it does it look at common features and then group observations by their standard deviations and means. Thus, the observations that are clustered together are more like the other observations in the cluster than they are like those in other clusters. From this one can begin to make sense of various spectral features and build up a better analytical model. In a social science context, the observations are people and the clusters are grouped by people who answered questions most consistently with others included in the group. Now, there are two approaches – and maybe Todd can comment as he’s read more of the methodology section of the study than I – 1) you create questions and use a priori categories to cluster the answers, or 2) you create questions and then run the cluster analysis, then naming or defining the groups that emerge post-clustering. You also determine the number of allowable clusters, so in this study they defined, either through the clustering results, or a priori, 9 cluster types. Depending on how they approached the clustering process you can draw different conclusions as to the usefulness of the study, but you can’t argue that the methodology is bogus up front.

  • Porcell

    Todd: Porcell (@40), explain to us, then, how cluster analysis works, that you can demonstrate for us why it fails here.

    Not a few of the posts on this thread remark that cluster “analysis” doesn’t work. Lars Walker said it best with: The survey lacks nuance. I don’t disagree with the label it gave me (staunch Republican), but a lot of people fall between the either/or choices offered.

    As to cluster analysis itself, it sets up a group of arbitrary categories and than with a bunch of either or questions forces complex people into its categories. These social “scientists” need to find some real work.

  • Porcell

    Todd: Porcell (@40), explain to us, then, how cluster analysis works, that you can demonstrate for us why it fails here.

    Not a few of the posts on this thread remark that cluster “analysis” doesn’t work. Lars Walker said it best with: The survey lacks nuance. I don’t disagree with the label it gave me (staunch Republican), but a lot of people fall between the either/or choices offered.

    As to cluster analysis itself, it sets up a group of arbitrary categories and than with a bunch of either or questions forces complex people into its categories. These social “scientists” need to find some real work.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    That’s what I thought, Porcell (@44). You don’t understand cluster analysis. Nor do you understand, apparently, the difference between the actual study that was done and the little quiz feature they added to make it interesting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    That’s what I thought, Porcell (@44). You don’t understand cluster analysis. Nor do you understand, apparently, the difference between the actual study that was done and the little quiz feature they added to make it interesting.

  • trotk

    tODD, don’t you know that demanding real answers is very unpostmodern of you?

  • trotk

    tODD, don’t you know that demanding real answers is very unpostmodern of you?

  • Porcell

    Todd, actually I understand cluster analysis rather well including its limitations.

  • Porcell

    Todd, actually I understand cluster analysis rather well including its limitations.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@47), when I asked you to explain it and its shortcomings in this study, you merely pointed me to other comments on this blog regarding the quiz.

    Go ahead, don’t be shy! Give us all a lesson in cluster analysis! Why was it the wrong approach to use here?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@47), when I asked you to explain it and its shortcomings in this study, you merely pointed me to other comments on this blog regarding the quiz.

    Go ahead, don’t be shy! Give us all a lesson in cluster analysis! Why was it the wrong approach to use here?

  • Grace

    poor tODD

  • Grace

    poor tODD

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I think the study does have a shortcoming.

    Looking through the methodology it appears they’ve veered very far from randomness to attempt to get a “balanced” sample.

    I suspect the relative sizes of the groups are difficult to statistically establish. I also am a bit worried that such a circuitous methodology might introduce some systemic biases.

    Pew has a good reputation but I’ve always found their political typology surveys to be more of conversation starters than hard social science.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I think the study does have a shortcoming.

    Looking through the methodology it appears they’ve veered very far from randomness to attempt to get a “balanced” sample.

    I suspect the relative sizes of the groups are difficult to statistically establish. I also am a bit worried that such a circuitous methodology might introduce some systemic biases.

    Pew has a good reputation but I’ve always found their political typology surveys to be more of conversation starters than hard social science.

  • steve

    Wow. I got stuck on the very first question. It’s not that I couldn’t decide which answer most closely fit my views but that I would have had to pick the answer with which I least vehemently disagree.

    I stopped there.

  • steve

    Wow. I got stuck on the very first question. It’s not that I couldn’t decide which answer most closely fit my views but that I would have had to pick the answer with which I least vehemently disagree.

    I stopped there.

  • steve

    Political Compass

    Economic Left/Right: 0.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.18

    This is somewhat surprising to me. Though I don’t think I had the same understanding of some of the answers as the testers. I tend to have more socially conservative and libertarian sympathies but my score here places me pretty close to the center of the grid.

    I bet if I take it in the morning, before my coffee, I’ll be more on the authoritarian right.

  • steve

    Political Compass

    Economic Left/Right: 0.25
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.18

    This is somewhat surprising to me. Though I don’t think I had the same understanding of some of the answers as the testers. I tend to have more socially conservative and libertarian sympathies but my score here places me pretty close to the center of the grid.

    I bet if I take it in the morning, before my coffee, I’ll be more on the authoritarian right.

  • John

    Very poorly designed quiz. I am much more favorable regarding environmental, immigration issues and help for the poor than the Main Street Republican group I was lumped in with. Apparently the only criterion that matters to them is that I am strongly religious.

    I’ve found that the closest thing to a pigeonhole for me is what Rod Dreher calls a Crunchy Conservative.

  • John

    Very poorly designed quiz. I am much more favorable regarding environmental, immigration issues and help for the poor than the Main Street Republican group I was lumped in with. Apparently the only criterion that matters to them is that I am strongly religious.

    I’ve found that the closest thing to a pigeonhole for me is what Rod Dreher calls a Crunchy Conservative.

  • The Jones

    Here’s another interesting political views chart: http://xkcd.com/868/

  • The Jones

    Here’s another interesting political views chart: http://xkcd.com/868/


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