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Author Topic: Interesting Political Quiz
malanthrop
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Quiz

You might be surprised...very quick to complete.

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TomDavidson
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Are you really only just seeing this for the first time? It's been around -- and thoroughly discredited -- for over a decade.
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malanthrop
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It's too short to be completely accurate, I just found it interesting and accurate on my part. I'm quite sure there are people who hold conservative beliefs and vote for liberals and the other way around. I doubt people really scrutinize their own beliefs as much as they ought to at the polling booth.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I just found it interesting and accurate on my part.
The quiz is deliberately worded to produce an answer of "libertarian." Is that what you got?
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scholarette
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I got liberal, but I did feel like they were trying to get people to be libertarian.
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rollainm
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I got liberal. I was also able to get centrist, libertarian, statist, and conservative by playing around with the answers.

It's simplistic, sure, but not necessarily completely bunk, and probably relatively accurate for most people.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
It's simplistic, sure, but not necessarily completely bunk, and probably relatively accurate for most people.
No, it's not. People have done a fair bit of statistical analysis on this "quiz."
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rollainm
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Okay. Example?
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Blayne Bradley
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me got Statist.
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TomDavidson
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As a positive example, as opposed to a list of all the things that quiz does wrong (which I'll lay out if someone wants, but which I think is less constructive), try: http://www.politicalcompass.org/index

Like the Smallest Quiz, it still suffers from some bias in its selection of questions; where it chooses to define the axes of distinction is perhaps slightly more real-world than the Smallest Quiz's approach, but it's still pretty imperfect. That said, it does a much better job; on that one, I show up correctly identified as a left-libertarian with a strong belief in consequentialism.

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Vadon
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The website itself demonstrates the purpose of the quiz. Look at the banner of the website, you'll notice a big arrow pointing upward toward the libertarian section. The website itself outside of the quiz is a completely biased source. Because of the subjectivity, one should immediately question the objectivity of the quiz. (That's not to say that it is guaranteed to be biased, but that one should carry an extra dose of suspicion.)

With that, the questions are phrased to get answers that elicit libertarian favorability. They qualify the answer to the question with things that sound pretty but aren't specific, or they prey on negative emotions.

"End corporate welfare"
"Let people control their own retirement"
and the last question, "cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more" are all bad questions.

I hate corporate welfare, and I would like to control my retirement... but that doesn't mean I don't believe there are times for government bailouts of private industries, and it doesn't mean I want social security privatized. The questions are two fold and try to push you into a single answer.

The last question is silly because of course I'd like less taxes and less government spending. The question is what spending would be cut and who would get the majority of tax cuts? Those aren't addressed and my answer would be prone to changing pretty quickly. But with the vagueness of the question asked, of course it sounds good.

It's a fairly skewed quiz.

(Full disclosure, I got liberal.)

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Samprimary
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"The World's Smallest Political Quiz" is also, conveniently just about the world's dumbest political quiz.

It is not 'relatively' accurate. It's actually fully inaccurate. It qualifies as little more than a push poll. It demonstrates its bias through inaccuracy and a lack of testable results.

This was plainly evident when the site broadcast total accrued results on the conclusion page. According to the test, there were more libertarians than conservatives by orders of magnitude, which isn't even close to true.

When they used the quiz as the basis for a phone poll, the wording bias and issue bias shone clear, removed of any selection bias. Nationally, according to this 'reliable' test, there are more than twice as many libertarians than there are conservatives, and that the two largest ideological affiliations in america are libertarians and statists, with liberal and conservative coming in third and fourth place.

I do not know a better way for them to demonstrate that their test is bunk, since good methodology tests show that isn't even close to accurate.

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rollainm
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Tom, I'm aware that there are more comprehensive alternatives. I'm also aware the quiz and its source are biased. I assumed that was a given. Every question demands yes, no or maybe when the issues addressed are more complicated than a one word answer can convey. They are way too obtuse and use emotionally charged phrases that may influence responses. However, I still hold that if the questions are answered as well as they can be *most* will get relatively accurate left vs right results if not better.
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rollainm
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I also think it's a given that those who cannot identify themselves as generally liberal or conservative will certainly get less accurate or flat out wrong results. Please note, however, that I'm not in any way advocating this quiz's usefulness.
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PSI Teleport
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I've always had a hard time answering the questions on these quizzes. On the one that Tom linked to, it asks if you believe that "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a fundamentally sound idea. How do you answer when your opinion is that it's a very relevant value, but that you think it should be a personal attitude rather than one that's legislated by the government?

Well, in the end I'm pretty darn close to the center.

Economic Left/Right: 0.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.59

[ September 04, 2009, 12:19 PM: Message edited by: PSI Teleport ]

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Avatar300
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I don't know which way you went, but for the purposes of the quiz, I would disagree with the statement if you don't think it's a valid role of government.

I am not close to the center:
Economic Left/Right: 10.00
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

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Vadon
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quote:
Originally posted by PSI Teleport:
I've always had a hard time answering the questions on these quizzes. On the one that Tom linked to, it asks if you believe that "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" is a fundamentally sound idea. How do you answer when your opinion is that it's a very relevant value, but that you think it should be a personal attitude rather than one that's legislated by the government?

Well, in the end I'm pretty darn close to the center.

Economic Left/Right: 0.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.59

It was probably more a test of your Marxist leanings more than anything else considering that line comes from the Communist Manifesto. But I haven't taken Tom's test so I don't know how they really worded the question.
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
a list of all the things that quiz does wrong (which I'll lay out if someone wants, but which I think is less constructive)

I would enjoy reading that.
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mr_porteiro_head
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Both tests put me almost exactly in the center. I call foul.
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TomDavidson
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Okay. *laugh* Disclaimers apply, of course; I am not a professional statistician. But here goes.

General Problems
1) The population of people taking the quiz is anonymous and self-selected. This would be a major problem if the quiz were intended to permit someone to draw conclusions about the general population, but is less of one in this situation (since it's meant to be self-revealing.)
2) The quiz is, all else being held equal, too short to really catch anything like nuance. It's the same problem faced by a lot of those ten-question "Which Star Trek character are you most like" quizzes.
3) The quiz is strongly weighted toward the selection of the libertarian POV in its matrix; notice that the "libertarian" answer is the positive answer in almost all cases. Left to their own devices, people prefer answering "yes" to answering "no." The authors of this quiz are aware of that fact.


Government should not censor speech, press, media or Internet.
This has two major problems. First off, it's unnecessarily loaded; "censor" is a term with heavy negative connotations. Imagine other versions of this, loaded in the opposite direction -- "the media should not be permitted to publish hurtful, defamatory things," perhaps, or "individuals should not be allowed to print materials containing racial slurs in publications children might read" -- to see what I mean. The second problem is that it's remarkably broad. The government shouldn't censor anything? In any medium? What constitutes speech? (Two relevant issues spring to mind here -- campaign contributions and strip clubs -- that are possible sources of contention. Would everyone answering "I agree" to this question also agree that no government should be able to force strippers to wear pasties? Or require that corporations only donate a certain maximum amount to any given candidate?)

Military service should be voluntary. There should be no draft.
Leaving aside the issue of whether the draft is really a practical concern -- I mean, from my POV, this question is sort of like asking "No one should be required to quarter troops in his house" -- it's also worth noting that we're dealing with the same problems as before. What does "voluntary" mean? Can you choose to leave it at will, or only after a certain time? Can the government offer enormous benefits to induce people to serve, or restrict certain privileges and rights to people who decline? That said, someone who can answer this question unequivocally in the negative is revealing something about his worldview.

There should be no laws regarding sex for consenting adults.
Like the draft question above, this one would say a lot about someone who answered it unequivocally. It also says a lot about the people who wrote the quiz. Notice that we're stipulating "consenting adults" right off the bat; the viewpoint that, say, there should be no laws regarding sex for anyone is unrepresented here. This is, of course, to neuter the normal slippery slope concerns.

Repeal laws prohibiting adult possession and use of drugs.
Notice "adult," as before. Note, too, that we're simply talking about "drugs." All drugs? I strongly suspect that a question dealing with the legalization of marijuana or alcohol or ecstasy would receive significantly different answers when compared to questions dealing with cocaine, heroin, or rohypnol.

There should be no National ID card.
This question reflects the tone of the times when the quiz was created, back when Clinton was in office and the healthcare debate had resulted in a number of National ID proposals. (To someone in a later generation, this question probably sounds either really inapropos or else symptomatic of a certain brand of Christian millennialism.) Interestingly, because the authors of the quiz neglected to describe the National ID card proposal they had in mind in even skeletal detail, this seems to me to one of the better questions. Someone who answers "no" to this question probably already has some very strong feelings on the subject.

End "corporate welfare." No government handouts to business.
Too broad and too loaded. Note the use of "welfare" and "handouts." Note, too, the lack of anything like specifics. Would a "yes" to this question imply that the respondent opposes TIF districts?

End government barriers to international free trade.
Note that this one begs the question a bit. It presumes that international free trade is something that should be advanced, and the government has put "barriers" in its way. "Barriers" are of course bad things. Someone who already strongly opposes "free trade" may well be able and determined to parse this question enough to answer "I disagree," but a lot of the people in the middle will slide towards "I agree" without thinking about it.

Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
Note the lack of details. Privatize Social Security in what way? Note that the possibility of eliminating Social Security isn't listed; respondents are not presented with the potentially worrying question "Slash Medicare and Social Security benefits," but rather the rah-rah empowerment implied in letting people control their own retirement -- whatever that means.

Replace government welfare with private charity.
Again, no details. Note, too, that we're begging the question again: we're replacing welfare with charity, the assumption being that of course this is possible. (Sadly, the question does not go on to indicate that the respondent will be receiving a free pony under this plan.)

Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.
Remember that free pony? This one's a unicorn. Yeah, it sure would be great to cut "taxes" and "spending" -- both bad things, no doubt -- by 50%. Imagine rephrasing this question as "cut education, health care, and defense spending by 60% or more," though, for a fun mental exercise.

---------

In other words, in every single question, the quiz is loaded for bear. More importantly, it's not really meant to be a "quiz" in the same way that a push poll isn't meant to be a poll; the goal is to introduce you to some of the core concepts of the Libertarian Party in a way that rather duplicitously implies that you share those principles without even knowing it.

And I'm speaking here as someone who does share a lot of those principles, mind you.

[ September 06, 2009, 11:39 PM: Message edited by: TomDavidson ]

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Dante
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I want a pony.
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TomDavidson
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I'll say it again: Ponies are not represented on the quiz.
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malanthrop
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Good points Tom. I think you are pointing out what is missed too often with all polls and political speech. There are focus groups researching verbage for polls and speeches accross the spectrum. A fee is not a tax. Governent healthcare changed to healthcare reform and now "insurance reform". The vast majority of the country would support insurance reform but is it really the seeds of single payer? The author could claim different results based upon "do you support gay marriage?" or "do you believe the government should prevent discrimination based upon sexual orientation?"
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mr_porteiro_head
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quote:
Left to their own devices, people prefer answering "yes" to answering "no."
Really? I wasn't aware of that. That's especially interesting because in the 2nd quiz, it felt like I was "disagree"ing with almost every question.
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TomDavidson
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Did you keep track of how many you actually disagreed with? People have a tendency to over-remember their "no" answers.
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mr_porteiro_head
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I was wondering the same thing. No, I didn't count, which is why all I could do was say that it "felt" like I was disagreeing more than not.

But then that might be because "disagree" was the answer I gave when I felt the question was unfair.

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malanthrop
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It seems the Conservative is being substituted for Libertarian. Could anyone get it to report far to the right? If it is rigged in any way it seems the Libertarians are taking the Conservatives, it's rigged against the Right and towards Libertarian.
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mr_porteiro_head
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All right, I counted it out:

Strongly Disagree: 3
Disagree: 30
Agree: 29
Strongly Agree: 0

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The Rabbit
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quote:
As a positive example, as opposed to a list of all the things that quiz does wrong (which I'll lay out if someone wants, but which I think is less constructive), try: " target="_blank">http://www.politicalcompass.org/index[/quote]

I come out right next to Ghandhi. I'm so proud.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by malanthrop:
It seems the Conservative is being substituted for Libertarian. Could anyone get it to report far to the right? If it is rigged in any way it seems the Libertarians are taking the Conservatives, it's rigged against the Right and towards Libertarian.

That is an artifact of the bias in the quiz. If you answer "D" to the majority of the first set of questions and yes to the majority of the second set, you come out conservative. The problem is that the first are phrased in such a way that conservatives are unlikely to disagree even if they would agree to more specific question like "Do you favor government restriction on pornography?" of "Would you favor a draft if (X)?" or "Should the government allow same sex couples to marry".
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