Political Survey

Lots of folks have reported their results on the Political Compass. Now Chris Lightfoot has come up with a better political survey. I think it is much better than the Political Compass survey because:

  1. There aren’t as many horribly ambiguous questions.
  2. The methodology is open so we can see how your answers get converted to a score.
  3. Rather than start with preconceived left/right authoritarian/libertarian axes, he has used principal component analysis to find a two-dimensional political space. The first dimension seems to correspond to the conventional left/right axis. The second dimension is less well defined. Lightfoot calls it pragmatic/idealistic, but you should not get too hung up on the name—the important thing is that someone is the same location in the 2D space as you will tend to answer all the questions the same way.
  4. You get a results page that lets you show anyone exactly how you answered the questions.

In the table below, you can, if you wish, enter the URL that Chris Lightfoot’s survey gives you for your results. That creates an asterisk next to your name that links to your results page. So you can show others where you are in this table, if someone follows a link to this page from your blog, your name should appear in red.

[Go here to see the table and the form.](http://cgi.cse.unsw.edu.au/~lambert/cgi-bin/survey/polsurvey.html)


  1. #1 Chris Lightfoot
    November 10, 2003

    — it’s probably better to request peoples’ normalised rather than raw scores. I should make that more explicit on the other page, I think. [You give raw scores more prominence, so that’s what I’m getting them to enter. TL]

  2. #2 Brilliantine
    November 10, 2003

    I put in my normalized scores, but I think either I screwed up or the chart is screwed up, because I know enough about my scores to know that I’m definitely not a centrist. The score I got on a pragmatist axis is accurate, but I’m substantially more leftwing than that. My raw score was -9 something. If you could somehow alter my place on the chart to make it more accurate, it would be much appreciated. Thanks. [Fixed TL]

  3. #3 Chris Lightfoot
    November 10, 2003

    Errm. The problem then is that your normalised scores (small numbers) get compared to others’ non-normalised scores (much larger number). I’ll have to leave Tim Lambert to sort that out, I’m afraid.

  4. #4 Jor
    November 10, 2003

    Silly grammatical error in ‘1. Their aren?t as many horribly ambiguous questions.’

    Should be easy to fix?

  5. #5 Dave Gross
    November 10, 2003

    “There is a danger that some corporations will become more powerful than governments.”

    This may unintentionally be confusing two distinct questions:

    1) It is possible that some corporations will become more powerful than the governments (in the domain of which they operate)


    2) This is a danger

    Also, the statements:

    1) Everyone should have access to the internet
    2) Some people should not have access to the internet

    aren’t really complementary. The first one can be read to imply a social welfare scheme (internet access should be made available to everybody by a coordinated program) whereas the other is read to imply an authoritarian blacklisting of certain people from internet access. If the first one was meant to be the opposite of the second it should have been worded differently.

  6. #6 Chris Lightfoot
    November 10, 2003

    I probably agree that the two “internet” questions aren’t strictly complementary, but in fact the pair works reasonably well in practice. I don’t know whether I can post images here, so here’s a link to a plot of normal vs. converse responses to that question:

    The one about large corporations is probably ambiguous in the way you suggest. It turns out not to be very important in the final analysis (about a third as important as the first question; it can only affect your left/right score by up to ±0.4 raw, and your idealist/pragmatic score by about the same amount). The normal vs. converse mapping doesn’t work so well there.

  7. #7 Russell Arben Fox
    November 10, 2003

    Interesting survey; I don’t come out quite as left this time. I still come out as pretty “idealistic” (in the sense of wishing to see my ideals instantiated in my community) though, which fits.

  8. #8 Skip Perry
    November 10, 2003

    That was really fun…much better than the other quiz.

    How, if at all, does the pragmatic/idealistic relate to the libertarian/authoritarian scale?

  9. #9 Anonymous
    November 10, 2003

    The real test of this is whether people who score very close on this test really do have substantially similar politics.

    Of course, it will be hard to verify this until a substantial number of people from across the spectrum have taken the test and reported their scores. Until then, I’m very skeptical.

  10. #10 Roger CO
    November 10, 2003

    Very interesting survey and results – it is not clear what URL you want in the form, you have a separate space for the results URL but what is the other one?
    It would be interesting to see the country/nationality of the respondents in your table. I’m UK by the way.

  11. #11 Tim Lambert
    November 10, 2003

    Roger, The URL I want in the form is the URL of your blog. The table collects the links to blogs by their score on the survey. If you don’t have a blog then you won’t appear in the table.

  12. #12 Roger CO
    November 10, 2003

    I’ve never really understood what this “BLOG” thing is, at least in any way that makes any kind of sense, so I do not think I have one (I do have a number of personal/business websites) so I guess I can not appear in your table. Now I know that your table is restricted to only people who BLOG it seems less interesting.
    Does the BLOG thing explain why you have some bizarre and unlikely names in your table. Who ever would treat seriously something from someone called some of those.
    Roger Creagh-Osborne

  13. #13 Ed Fuxwell
    November 10, 2003

    i’ve taken many of these political surveys, and i always end up in quadrant 3, i’ve been called a liberal libertarian, haha, i think i like that, sounds good to me.

  14. #14 Micks
    November 10, 2003

    Hmm… the liberal-killer… sounds like me. I like this survey.

  15. #15 jeanmarry
    March 15, 2004

    The site of the peace of jeanmarry with John Kerry for peace in the world

  16. #16 denny_porto
    March 31, 2004

    I think that politicalcompass.org is much more accurate, but this site has the idea presented better.

    May 12, 2004

    The Site Peace Granpa Jeanmarry For JOHN KERRY

  18. #18 Anton Sherwood
    July 17, 2005

    Hello, where did the table go?

  19. #19 Tim Lambert
    July 17, 2005

    It got lost in the move. I’ll bring it back one day.

  20. #20 John Wong
    January 10, 2006

    Most simpler tests show me as very liberal. People who know me think of me as a centrist, albeit a left-leaning one.

    All other tests show that I am liberal, but this test does the same, except that I am MUCH closer to the center.

    This is pretty accurate test.

  21. #21 John Wong
    January 10, 2006

    Oh, here’s where I stand.

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