Take the Pew test; find your label

As part of the never-ending quest for political metaphors after the red-blue divide, the Pew Research Center for People and the Press has developed a nifty little online test in an attempt to give a snapshot of the basic political viewpoints in the land.

The resulting report includes more than a few doses of religion.

Overall, the result is a series of camps framed to undercut the much-cursed red-blue divide. Here’s a place to see the various types of politicos.

I still think there are some crazy twists and turns here, and I am one who thinks that the clout of strong red-zip-code people and the elite blues is one of the major stories of the year. The 10 percent or so of true believers on left and right are real. They have power, in their niche. They affect key states and primaries. There is a story here — probably more than one.

And religion is a key part of the equation in this Pew study. For example, it says there are three kinds of conservatives — Enterprisers, Social Conservatives and Pro-Government Conservatives. Note: Three kinds. Then one of the other basic camps consists of “conservative Democrats.”

Wait a minute.

Three plus one equals . . . FOUR? Right? I am not very good at math and, perhaps, neither is the copy editor for this study. Well, I guess there are no conservatives in the Democratic Party. And they don’t go to church more often than other Democrats, either (and they are not largely Hispanic or African American).

So take the test. I did. Let us know how you scored, if you wish. Anyone want to label each member of the GetReligion borg?

I already know my handle. Clue — I am not in the GOP (cue: gasp from some readers).

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://kevinjjones.blogspot.com Kevin Jones

    Disaffected? Me? I thought I was some sort of theocratic fascist.

  • NateB.

    “I thought I was some sort of theocratic fascist. ”

    Me too.. I vote, try to keep current, and attend mass daily, but apparently I’m confused, disinterested and dissaffected.

    I think we need to define terms. Is a conservative someone who holds to the sort of tenants found in Burke ( John Derbyshire’s writes about this in the article here:

    http://www.olimu.com/WebJournalism/Texts/Commentary/TwilightOfConservatism.htm ),

    or maybe just someone who’s religious in the traditional sense? My guess is that the author simply used the GOP’s current party platform as a definition and went from there.

    Daniel McCarthy (writer for Pat Buchanan’s magazine) came up with a similar test several years ago that I think is a lot savier and more accurate.

    ( http://selectsmart.com/FREE/select.php?client=zeron ).

  • Jill

    Could’ve sworn I was a social conservative. My results say I’m an enterprising sort of gal. Hmm . .

  • webwalker

    Figured myself for a moderate. Nope: I’m a card carrying liberal pinko commie-bedwetter.

    Ugh. While the questions of the Dan McCarthy page are quite dated now, the method is a lot more nuanced: state your agree/disagree/no sure and then say *how strongly* you feel. (It still called me a Liberal, too, but I was hardly expecting to be called a neo-con by a Pat Buchanan publication. :^)


  • Dan Crawford

    I discovered I was a “disadvantaged democrat” – probably because I believe that most business execs are crooks and functional sociopaths and that most politicians are crooks and functional sociopaths. I thought that made me cynical.

  • http://blog.jlleblanc.com Joseph LeBlanc

    I think I’m a little too cynical to be classified as an “upbeat”.

  • mcmlxix

    A little off topic…

    On the U S of C vs Jesusland map, to be fair, shouldn’t Alberta and Saskatchewan be part of Jesusland?

    Oh, and I’m an “Upbeat”…not.

  • alison

    Apparently I’m disaffected. While the label seems to fit me, the description certainly doesn’t. I vote, but I always regret it afterwards. I think maybe I’d fall into the “hopeless” category, if there were one.

  • James Freeman

    I think this survey is . . . odd. For one, there’s very little room for any kind of nuance.

    Secondly, it would seem that if you’re religious a-tall, you’re a “conservative.” Ditto if you’re for a strong military.

    I figured that my answers, except for (reluctantly) voting for Bush, would be wholly consistent with what used to be known as a New Deal Democrat. (For the record, I AM a Democrat, albeit reluctantly after no longer being able to abide the GOP.)


    Instead, I find that I am a “Pro-Government Conservative.” Boy, has the political landscape shifted under our feet in the last generation, or what?

  • James Freeman

    OK, this is getting interesting. I changed my survey answers on three questions . . . and came up with “Liberal.”

    You want to know what they were?

    – 6 Homosexuality is a way of life that should be accepted by society. (Changed answer to strongly agree, from the opposite end of the spectrum.)

    – 11 Religion is a very important part of my life. (Ditto. Changed my answer from strongly religious to strongly not.)

    – 22 It IS NOT necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values. (Changed my answer to strongly agree with this, as opposed to the opposite.)

    Oh . . . I also changed my response from voted for Bush to didn’t vote, to make it neutral.

    I guess it really is a Jeaneane Garafalo world out there. Yuck.

  • Hal Duston

    I too am an Enterpriser. Looking further into that classification, it generally seems to be even further to the right on the political spectrum from Social Conservative. No surprise to me I guess. Jill, does that help explain your result any better?

  • Jeremy Lott


  • Tom Breen

    I am a pro-government conservative. Little in the description actually fits me, except the part about having no money.

  • http://gospelgal.blogspot.com Gospel Gal

    Pro-Government Conservative (?!) I would have self-identified as a Conservative Democrat.

  • cheyan

    I’m Upbeat, despite strongly agreeing with “religion is an important part of my life” and “homosexuality should be discouraged by society”.

  • Rod Dreher

    Social Conservative. Shocked, shocked…

  • Kristine J

    Conservative Democrat. It’s what I would self-identify as. I just wonder if there’s anyone in either political party who represents people of my ilk.

  • Fred

    Upbeat. Kinda Rebecca-of-Sunnybrook-Farmish. La-La-La. Life is good. But am an Enterpriser wannabe.

  • Aussie Dave

    Great fun filling in the the questionnaire for some fictitious country with some guy called Bush running the show. Came out as a pro Government conservative, but then I’m 61, male and Presbyterian, and can spell it too, or is that to.

  • tmatt


    Me too.

    Same question for me.

    So what do you do with the Bob Casey Democrats, the traditional faith and culture people who cannot brook country-club side of the GOP?

    So when does Rod Dreher’s “Crunchy Granola Conservatism” book come out? ;-)

  • http://www.anotherthink.com Charlie

    I’m an Upbeat, but I would have called myself a conservative Democrat.

  • Marion R.

    I’m disaffected! Aggggggh! I found myself letting meaning shift more slipperily than an Anglican Bishop while doing the poll. I know they designed the poll to keep you off the center, but still, I found many of the dichotomies suggested to be false.

    BTW, I’m pretty adamant that the Blue-Red thing is not about states, but is really an urban-rural phenomena that people refuse to acknowledge.

    Sorry for the misspellings.

  • Erik Nelson

    I agree with James above. No room for nuance at all. If anything, the survey tends to rely pretty heavily on forcing extreme answers to questions. For example, question 22 on the environment. You can either agree to expand environmental regulations or agree to curtail them. That’s not really a fair question when I think many people would find themselves in the middle. The same with question five on poverty. Government should do all it can for the poor, or government is doing too much. I think most people have a more nuanced view of this.

    Of course, that said, it pegged me as an “enterpriser.” That didn’t surprise me, really, but my opinions on policy matters are far more moderate than the options I was forced to choose. Oh well.

  • S.K. Davis

    I’m tickled. Nobody’s called me “upbeat” for, well, EVER.

  • Roger Bennett

    They say I’m an “upbeat”, though I’m pretty sure I’m a glass-half-empty kind of guy (and a social conservative).
    The key seemed to be my refusal to condemn immigration. But I accept high immigration rates – despite my concern about how little it leaves us in common beyond (1) public schools and (2) shopping malls – largely because our economy and social security system need the workers that we, like Europeans, have not procreated and reared.

  • Stephen A.

    Pro-government conservative for me.

    Which is just about right, since I can’t stomach the anarchist libertarians in my own party (GOP) who want to tear down government and see no positive role for it.

    Although if this label translates into meaning that I’m a “Rockefeller Republican” (or, more currently, a “McCain Republican”) then the survey is either flawed, or I’m in trouble, since I hold quite a few socially conservative views.

  • Jill

    Hal, I did explore some of the material on that site a little further. Age, education, and economic status also have a little to do with it. Instead of mellowing with age, apparently I’ve gone further to the right?

  • http://www.restacrosstheriver.blogspot.com Andy


    I don’t know about age. I’m 28, and I came out as a “pro-government conservative”. I did fiddle with the answers a little to see what happened, and as far as I can tell the quiz pegged me as such (as opposed to social conservative, or conservative Democrat) almost exclusively because I’m a self-identified Republican who’s socially conservative and strapped for cash.

    I realize it may be statistically valid, but the whole income-as-affiliation thing has always struck me as a bit silly. In “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Thomas Frank expresses his disbelief that people vote against their perceived economic interests. That comes as no surprise to me – some of the most virulent, starve-the-beast libertarians I know are effectively bankrupt.

  • http://blidiot.blogspot.com/ William Sulik

    I was also surprised to find myself labeled a “Pro-Government Conservative.” I know my responses have changed post 9/11, perhaps that has something to do with it.

    Have I really gone over to the Dark Side?

  • metagirl

    Posted by Jill at 1:15 am on May 19, 2005

    “Figured myself for a moderate. Nope: I’m a card carrying liberal pinko commie-bedwetter.

    Ugh. While the questions of the Dan McCarthy page are quite dated now, the method is a lot more nuanced: state your agree/disagree/no sure and then say *how strongly* you feel. (It still called me a Liberal, too, but I was hardly expecting to be called a neo-con by a Pat Buchanan publication. :^)



    Nice. May I refer you to this quotes from one of whom you refer to?

    “If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.””- JFK

    “Liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves”-JFK

    Glad to see that you’ve let someone like Rush Limbaugh, a reformed drug-addict, non-reformed hypocrite, shape your opinions of how to treat and talk about people who don’t agree with what you believe.

    Just so you know, Jesus Christ was a “Liberal pinko commie bedwetter”, according to your standards. He believed in caring for the least of us in order to help all of us become better people. Also, what you might refer to as an “environmentist wacko”.

  • EV

    Hey, James Wilson, way up above–w/the 3 survey statements you changed, I answered like you did the first time. At the conclusion, I still sized myself up as a liberal, and the survey said . . . liberal!

  • http://www.rightdemocrat.blogspot.com RightDemocrat

    The survey told me what I already knew. I am a conservative Democrat.