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Liberal-Conservative Quiz

This Political Quiz published in a 1994 edition of USA Today is making the rounds for some reason, with Andrew Sullivan, Ann Althouse, Glenn Reynolds, and Eugene Volokh all taking and commenting on it.

I agree with Reynolds and Volokh that many of the questions are rather silly. I also think it rather amusing that Ronald Reagan is a 40/40 ideal type Conservative and Jesse Jackson a 0/0 perfect Liberal. That’s a pretty narrow range.

For what it’s worth, I scored 33/40 which puts me somewhere in between Jack Kemp and Bob Dole on their spectrum. I’ve always liked Dole but never considered him particularly conservative, let alone more so than Kemp. I’m significantly more conservative on this test than Althouse (21), Reynolds (21), and Sullivan (26), which isn’t particularly surprising. Volokh either didn’t bother to calculate a score or declined to reveal it.

Then again, I’m hard to place on these spectra, as I’m simultaneously non-religious, socially conservative, and think most social issues outside the legitimate scope of government. I’m a hawk who thinks defense spending should be cut because we’re wasting hundreds of billions procuring systems we don’t need and a skeptic of international organizations who thinks foreign aid nonetheless a worthwhile expenditure if targeted correctly.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. I picked up this quiz from Outside the Beltway which reports: This Political Quiz published in a 1994 edition of USA Today is making the rounds for some reason, with Andrew Sullivan, Ann Althouse, Glenn Reynolds, and Eugene Volokh all taking and commenting on it.

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  2. Double Tap says:

    more, the Pentagon or the Post Office? My question was, trust them to do what? Both have had their issues over the years. I’m guessing that if you picked the Pentagon, you are conservative, and if you picked the Post Office, you are liberal. (H/T OTB)

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  3. just me says:

    I usually can be suckered into taking the tests. On this I scored a 32, but I hated the question structure. On a lot of the questions my answer wasn’t a choice, or the questions were very absolutist.

    And I am still laughing at the Haiti/Korea question-that question alone indicates just how dated the survey is.

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  4. NoZe says:

    I agree, it is very dated. Nevertheless, I got an 11, which surprised me. My sense has been that I’ve been getting more conservative as I’ve gotten older. Still, many of the questions left little room for nuance!

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  5. Giving New Meaning to "Conservative" (But Then, Maybe It Could Use New Meaning…)…

    Via Glenn Reynolds, who scored 21, via Ann Althouse, who scored 21, via Andrew Sullivan, who scored 26, and as "what he said!" critiqued by Eugene Volokh, here's an extremely silly liberal/conservative spectrum quiz. The range is 0 to 40…

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  6. Anthony C says:

    I got 25.

    The point about it being strange that Kemp is classed as being to the left of Dole is well made. Unless I’ve got it drastically wrong, the whole point of Dole taking Kemp as running mate was that Dole was seen as too moderate by many sections of the GOP and Kemp was meant to encourage the core vote to make a showing on polling day.

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  7. The test was obviously flawed. I scored a 37 which seems low.

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  8. Triumph says:

    Then again, I’m hard to place on these spectra, as I’m simultaneously non-religious, socially conservative, and think most social issues outside the legitimate scope of government. I’m a hawk who thinks defense spending should be cut because we’re wasting hundreds of billions procuring systems we don’t need and a skeptic of international organizations who thinks foreign aid nonetheless a worthwhile expenditure if targeted correctly.

    You sound like Bill Clinton.

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  9. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    I agree with yetanotherjohn, this test has too be flawed. I scored a meager 35 on it.

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  10. McGehee says:

    If I took it again I could probably improve on the mere 37 I just scored.

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  11. floyd says:

    The sad part was the predictability! It was easy to score a “0” or a “30” at will.When will we get politicians who stand on principle instead of the party line.

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  12. Kent G. Budge says:

    Huh. I scored the same as you — 33 — in spite of some definite disagreements. Perhaps it’s a different set of things making you and I not perfect conservatives.

    Hard to be sure with a cheesy test like this.

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