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Where Are You Politically?

October 20th, 2003

The Christian Science Monitor has this quiz you can take to see where you land on the political spectrum; an OK test, but the results are a bit disappointing–you are only told if your answers rate, on average, as isolationist, liberal, realist, or neoconservative. No specifics, no spectrums. It wasn’t too surprising, or very interesting, when the quiz told me I was a liberal. Shock!

A much better quiz is the Political Compass, a six-page test with a great number of multiple-choice questions (on the agree-disagree scale). After you take the test, you are not pigeonholed into one of four categories, but you are placed specifically on a 2-dimensional chart, where the ends of the two axes represent liberal, conservative, authoritarian and libertarian extremes. You can then compare your position (see chart, upper right) to the positions of famous political figures (shown on a separate graph, I did some Photoshopping). Not too surprising to see George. W. Bush up there with Thatcher and Sharon, nor that he is closer to Hitler than Gandhi. More surprising is seeing Pope John Paul II in the neighborhood of Stalin, Hussein and Arafat. I guess that makes sense from an ideological point of view, but you don’t think of it that way, usually. And that’s me, right next to the Dalai Lama.

The test is not perfect, as there are some questions which could be interpreted differently by different people, and a few with no choices that exactly represent your views. Still most people report that they get placed pretty accurately, and it is fun to see where you come out. Go ahead, give it a try. If you do, come back here and share the results.

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  1. October 21st, 2003 at 16:43 | #1

    Took the political compass, and was surprised. I am dead center on the vertical scale and -1.25 on the horizontal scale. Thought for sure I would end up being more to the right. I wonder what the margin of error is for this thing? +/- 10 points or so! Fun, thanks for posting it.

    Jonathan Wilson

  2. Luis
    October 21st, 2003 at 20:02 | #2

    Jonathan: Sounds like an accurate margin of error to me, considering the interpretation of some questions. It is fun, isn’t it? I’m in the process of getting coworkers to run through it too. Found out about it at The Ornery American forums, started by Orson Scott Card. An interesting place for discussion….

  3. Brad
    August 6th, 2004 at 15:03 | #3

    Seems to be fairly accurate. Some of the questions were obviously questions about other topics in disguise, such as the “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” one, which was pretty clearly referring to capital punishment, though it didn’t mention it. I was +6.25 on the left/right scale and +0.26 (pretty much dead center) on the authoritarian/libertarian scale. Other tests have put me right on the boundary between conservative and libertarian as well, and that is what I consider myself.

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