An Ideological Self-Test

In the comment section of one of my recent posts a discussion broke out about the political compass ideological categorization test, which some found wanting (especially in terms of evaluating one’s position within US politics).  The Pew Research Center for the People has their own test, and it is US-centric and can be found here.

FILED UNDER: Political Theory, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. john personna says:

    I’m an upbeat. Reminds me of what a friend told me once … that I was an optimist who thought he was a pessimist.

    On a couple questions I wish they would have let me way “equal.”

  2. john personna says:

    “Government often does a better job than people give it credit for”

    heh, my answer might have been influenced by you all as “people”

  3. PD Shaw says:

    When I took that test in 2005, I was typed an “Upbeat.” I don’t feel that way anymore; I wonder if that test needs an update.

  4. G.A.Phillips says:

    i’m an Enterpriser, but some of the questions, kinda silly………

  5. I’m an Enterpriser.

    One problem with this test–like most of these–is that binary options don’t allow for nuance. Consider, for example, the question that asks you to choose between military force and diplomacy as the “best” way of ensuring peace. Suppose you think a happy medium between the two–speak softly and carry a very big stick–is “best.” How do you answer? Or the one about banning books from public school libraries? Suppose you think books that contain “dangerous ideas” are okay, but hard core pornography isn’t? Some people think the Communist Manifesto has dangerous ideas. Hell, I do. But it ought to be in a public school anyway. So should Huck Finn, for that matter. But maybe not Danny does Mommy the Milf.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    One of my earliest writing gigs was writing personality quizzes for YM magazine. (I think it went under. Probably not my fault.) My wife and I — a Plan 2 major from UT Austin and a high school drop-out respectively — used to drink a little beer and pull those quizzes out of . . . let’s say our ears.

    Something to bear in mind when taking quizzes.

  7. Michael says:

    I find it odd that I can change my typography between 3 different classifications, purely based on my self-identification as a Democrat or Republican and liberal or conservative. This tells me that this test is as much or more about what you think about your ideological identity as it is about your actual ideological positions.