After years of neglect, I have finally gotten around to doing a tally of the quiz stats. Not quite 120,000 points. Traffic has definitely gone down since the glory days of this site.
But also: the site’s recording mechanism had been broken since January 2019 due to changes in PHP and my hosting provider’s Apache settings. Oops!
Hopefully, it should all be working correctly now.
In other news: quiz2d.com is now https! No more browser warnings when filling in forms. The Web is more secure.
Last Monday, a whole lot of files got corrupted on all my domains. My hosting provider traced it to a Russian server getting in via WordPress.
I had a backup of my non WordPress content, so most of the site should still work as it should. For WordPress proper, I clobbered all my old files and unzipped the latest WordPress. My content is in the database, and appears OK. But I have lost my old theme (which needed updating anyway).
Please have patience with this generic theme until I have the time to jazz things back up.
Right now, I am busy on a MAJOR new project for this site! After years of semi neglect, big things are coming soon.
Have a look at the latest statistics for Version 7 of the Quiz. We are now up to over 52,000 takers! I would say that the statistics are significant, save that they are a bit biased. You can see the bias in the scatter plot:
A large fraction of my traffic these days comes from school sites. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll are a lot more appealing if you are a teenager than if you are a parent of a teenager. I think this explains most of the bias to the upper left.
Then again, it is also possible that the government is biased to the lower right compared to the population. I center the diagram on the amount of government we have today vs. any attempt at finding an average or median viewpoint. Whereas a democracy is supposed to reflect the median in theory, in practice we have Gerrymandering, a two-party system, and a funding bias towards towards incumbents — i.e., bribery.
There are more people at the upper corner than at any of the other corners because the Nolan Chart is a projection of a higher dimensional space that makes libertarianism appear a more coherent political philosophy than others. Other projections are possible. The Political Compass uses a different projection which measures how libertarian you are not at all, but does measure how much you agree with a certain hard left political philosophy.
One of these days, I’ll get around to making quizzes with different projections…
After a few months leaving things alone, I have finally gotten around to tabulating the latest results from Version 7 of the Quiz (released in August 2012). A quick look at a scatter plot indicates that the Quiz is now reasonably normalized:
Yes, there is a cluster in the Libertarian quadrant, but this is to be expected for several reasons:
- The Nolan Chart does look at the political map from a libertarian perspective. Libertarianism thus shows up as the most coherent ideology by this mapping.
- The libertarian movement has done the most to promote quizzes such as this, so more of the takers of this quiz have been prompted to do so by libertarians. Indeed, the earliest links to this site were Libertarian Party affiliates.
- Political quiz takers in general will tend to be taken more by those unhappy with the two major party offerings.
- A sizable fraction of the traffic today comes from school sites. Young people destined to become Republicans tend to score more libertarian than conservative. Whether they will become more socially conservative as they grow older remains to be seen.
Then again, it is possible that libertarianism — broadly defined — is a growing faction in this country and currently underrepresented in our legislatures. Given the non random nature of this data sample, the scatter plot above should not be taken as strong evidence for this assertion, though.
The more detailed statistics, however, should be more useful for determining how libertarian young and/or independent voters are willing to be. (They can be used as for how conservative, liberal, communitarian, etc.) There is significant clustering in the center of the graph, so the specific answers may reveal some deal-killers for all factions.
The strongest smaller-government signal is for the issue of marijuana legalization. 60% of the quiz takers say we should legalize marijuana outright. Another 18% believe we should make marijuana less illegal than it is today, either by decriminalizing recreational use or by making medical marijuana legal.
On the other hand 56% of the Quiz takers believe we should continue keep our laws against harder drugs and/or increase enforcement. This is despite the fact that the Quiz grants users many incremental options between the status quo and outright legalization.
The strongest signal for bigger government comes from the Public Education question. There is strong support for increasing public school funding and graduate school educations for teachers. A mere 16.6% of takers favor some form of school privatization (vouchers, tax credits or simple public school abolition). Those who favor school choice have an uphill battle, at least with the Quiz2D demographic (which includes many students currently in public schools).
A few more highlights:
- ObamaCare and/or outright socialized medicine has strong support.
- Nearly 40% of Quiz takers believe we should legalize prostitution.
- The Second Amendment still has strong support, though nearly a quarter of the takers believe we should have stronger background checks for pistols and semi-automatic rifles.
- Over half the takers believe in some additional immigration restrictions.
- There is a strong sentiment towards scaling back or privatizing Social Security over time.
Peruse the statistics yourself.
In the interest of full disclosure, I just took Version 7 of the Quiz to see where I stand as currently calibrated. Here is where I came out:
Maybe I should relabel this Leff-Leaning Moderate Libertarian. But since I don’t use “Moderate” for conservatives and liberals at this distance from the center, I may hold back. By the standards of the active members of the LIbertarian Party, I am definitely a moderate, or even a non-libertarian (damn socialist). But by the standards of the media, the term libertarian applies to me still.
And by the way, I too struggle with some of the questions. In the interest of brevity I didn’t include all possible permutations of answers including some of my own opinions.
And in all honesty, even if you score in the same Nolan Chart location as a candidate, you might still prefer another candidate. The Nolan Chart is not the only, or even best, 2D political mapping. One of these days I’ll devise a test based on an alternative political map.
For those who want to nitpick with my calibration, you can do a “view source” of the quiz proper and see how I score each answer. Look for “value=”. For each you will see something like 0_60. The first number (0 in this case) is the ord of the answer. The second is how I score it on a 0 to 100 scale. 0 is maximum authority/minimum liberty. 100 is maximum liberty/minimum government. 50 is status quo. Feel free to quibble with my calibrations in the comments below.
What? A blog?? How very 21st Century!
From the days long past when the Enhanced Precision Political Quiz was a java applet, the quiz simply gave “scores” and recommended pages off site. Then, I started archiving some of my early writings on Libertarian Party strategy. [Note: I a no longer a Libertarian Party member; this is for historical interest only.] And a few other barnacles accumulated, including, briefly, an online store for buying T shirts and bumper stickers.
And now, finally, a blog. I figured that it is long overdue to have a public place for people to provide feedback on the quiz. Many are too bashful (and spam-fearful!) to send an email, and some are so angered by the content of the quiz, that I would rather not receive their email — better to vent spleens in the open.
But far more importantly, I want lots off feedback and feed forward: the Quiz has become horribly dated. It still references the Clinton Administration(!) It is long past time to update the questions and possible answers. I could simply note ongoing discussions in the news as well as the private feedback provided over the years and whip together some updates, but why not open source things a bit. To wit, I want:
- What issues do you consider important? I want to hear from members of all political factions on this.
- Am I wording the questions fairly? I want to get rid of the bias of the earlier versions of the Quiz. (The bias had a reason, which has since become obsolete. This could be the subject of a post in and of itself…)
- Do you prefer a short quiz or a longer quiz which is more likely to contain the answers you want to give?
These questions apply to an upgrade of the traditional Nolan Chart based quiz. In the future I aspire to introduce quizzes based on other dimensions than economic/personal liberty/authority.
I may throw in some commentary on the current political situation as well on this blog. I will try to avoid pushing any particular ideology. Instead, I will nitpick logic errors on all sides and comment on how our voting system fails to provide sufficient permutations of issues. For example, where is the candidate who calls for higher taxes and for spending cuts in order to reduce the deficit? Which party could such a candidate run under? Under what party could a candidate run who wants to replace the federal welfare system with a basic income guarantee? What of the conservative who wants a carbon tax to fight global warming (and tax our enemies)? Which combinations do you think are wanting?
And, of course, I will suggest some creative alternatives, both for voting systems, combinations of issue stances, and out of the box solutions. Pick out the ones you like.