Saturday, May 28, 2011

A quiz on your political label for yourself

How does your way of thinking about important issues compare with the views of the rest of the American public? You can get a rough idea by taking a quiz on political typology just published by the Pew Research Center.
The quiz has 20 pairs of opposing policy positions, from which you declare yours. One pair, for example, states:

-- “The government should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means going deeper into debt” or
-- “The government today can’t do much more to help the needy.”
You then are asked to check your political party attachment, age group, and gender, and, voila, Pew identifies you as belonging to one of eight politically engaged groups or a ninth group of less engaged “Bystanders.” From my responses, the Pew test concluded that I am “solidly liberal, along with 14% of the American public.” Solid liberals, I learn, are one of the “most secular groups: 59% of them say that religion is not that important to them.

So, on this issue, I don’t quite fit the model, since for the quiz's’s two pairs on religion I checked both “Religion is a very important part of my life, “ and “It is not necessary to believe in God and have good values.”

Taking the Pew quiz can satisfy your personal curiosity about the political label you apply to yourself. More important, the whole study, “Beyond Red vs. Blue: the Political Typology,” is an enlightening report on the labels now in wide but seldom defined use. Some familiarity with those loosely applied labels could make the nightly news and talk shows somewhat more comprehensible.

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