Homework assignment: Where do you fit?

A long time ago, I came very close to spending my life as an academic in the field inaptly called “political science.” I did some work for a major news organization doing early exit polling. That hooked me on the power of quantitative research. As a senior thesis, I constructed a questionnaire to see whether if you identified yourself as a Republican or Democrat that single variable could predict your response to First Amendment issues. I administered the survey to a large group, and then ran all the statistical tests (on a main frame computer that probably had less computing power than the little Chromebook I am using to write this post). I found out that the single variable was probably not a very good predictor depending upon the Ryou felt was necessary. Anyway, I have faith, albeit not unlimited faith, in experienced and unbiased researchers to get helpful data from such surveys. If you doubt me, spend a little time studying whether market research works.

So here’s the deal. There is a new and unbiased survey instrument that is just now available that allows an individual to test where he or she falls in the political spectrum. The survey doesn’t take long to complete. Just for fun take the full survey here* and then read the article here explaining the survey and the national results.  DON’T READ THE ARTICLE FIRST.

You might be surprised with your individual results as well as the national results. I certainly was. After you take the survey,  I urge you to comment upon (1) what you think about the survey and (2) whether the overall survey results recounted in the article tell us anything relevant to the federal courts.


*The basic survey allows you take a slightly longer version when you get done with the initial series of questions. Go ahead and answer the supplemental questions. They don’t take long.

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