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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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. Patrick T. McGuire says:

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

  7. McGehee says:

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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.