Friday, February 23, 2007

Another Set of Boxes

(via Jane Gault)

Because I find the traditional "Left vs. Right" typology describing the political spectrum simple-minded to the point of imbecility, I am curious of new ways to slice and dice the electorate.

The Pew Research Center for People and the Press has a test in which that they try to get beyond "left-right." Having been trained by years of schooling and of being pestered by Mrs. Islander to take those "test your man" quizzes in women's magazines I stepped up to bat.

So how does this test classify me?


Based on your answers to the questionnaire, you most closely resemble survey respondents within the Enterpriser typology group. This does not mean that you necessarily fit every group characteristic or agree with the group on all issues.

Enterprisers represent 9 percent of the American public, and 10 percent of registered voters.

Basic Description
As in previous studies conducted in 1987, 1994 and 1999, this extremely partisan Republican group’s politics are driven by a belief in the free enterprise system and social values that reflect a conservative agenda. Enterprisers are also the strongest backers of an assertive foreign policy, which includes nearly unanimous support for the war in Iraq and strong support for such anti-terrorism efforts as the Patriot Act.

Defining Values
Assertive on foreign policy and patriotic; anti-regulation and pro-business; very little support for government help to the poor; strong belief that individuals are responsible for their own well being. Conservative on social issues such as gay marriage, but not much more religious than the nation as a whole. Very satisfied with personal financial situation.

Who They Are
Predominantly white (91%), male (76%) and financially well-off (62% have household incomes of at least $50,000, compared with 40% nationwide). Nearly half (46%) have a college degree, and 77% are married. Nearly a quarter (23%) are themselves military veterans. Only 10% are under age 30.

Lifestyle Notes
59% report having a gun in their homes; 53% trade stocks and bonds in the stock market, and 30% are small business owners – all of which are the highest percentages among typology groups. 48% attend church weekly; 36% attend bible study or prayer group meetings.

2004 Election
Bush 92%, Kerry 1%. Bush’s most reliable supporters (just 4% of Enterprisers did not vote)

Party ID
81% Republican, 18% Independent/No Preference, 1% Democrat (98% Rep/LeanRep)

Media Use
Enterprisers follow news about government and politics more closely than any other group, and exhibit the most knowledge about world affairs. The Fox News Channel is their primary source of news (46% cite it as a main source) followed by newspapers (42%) radio (31%) and the internet (26%).

Let's see:
  • "Not much more religious than the nation as a whole." A clean miss. I am very religious.
  • "48% attend church weekly; 36% attend bible study or prayer group meetings." Does that contradict the previous point?
  • "Predominantly white (91%), male (76%) and financially well-off " Well, two out of three. Check my photo and you'll see that "well off" doesn't photograph.
  • "Very satisfied with personal financial situation." That stuffs it.
  • "59% report having a gun in their homes;" Nope. I support my right to have one, though.
  • "81% Republican, 18% Independent/No Preference" Yep, that's me--about 81% Republican.
These tests, at best, ask me if I think government is too powerful, and, when I say, "Yes," tell me that I favor smaller government. Hmmmm.... There is also the problem with the forced dichotomy of the questions. What if I think neither of the statements, "The government should do more to protect morality in society," or "I worry the government is getting too involved in the issue of morality" really characterizes my position?

The important thing to remember is that you only get out of these things what you put into these things (minus entropic losses.)

For the record, I like the Pournell Political chart because it jars many people out of the "left-right" dichotomy.

And of course I enjoy Stephen den Beste's take on the left-right fallacy.

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