News & Politics

America the Violet: Take This Quiz To See Where You Fall on the Political Spectrum

The Pew Research Center's political typology breaks down the strict divide between red and blue voters.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock / palbrigo

What was the latest approval rating for Congress again? A whopping 16 percent—the lowest congressional rating on record during a midterm year. Americans may disagree about pretty much everything, from the definition of religious freedom to the realities of climate change, but they are clear on one thing: lawmakers in DC are incompetent. According to Pew’s latest political typology, which sorts voters into groups based on their attitudes and values, we are united by “frustration with politics and little else.”

Pew divides voters into eight groups, with solid liberals, business conservatives and steadfast conservatives—the electoral base of the Democratic and Republican parties, respectively—forming the main planks. But beyond those core groups, the study also features multiple subcategories, which may be more recognizable to the modern electorate. Examples include “young outsiders” (oppose big government, probably smoke pot), “hard-pressed skeptics” (ex-Obama supporters who have been battered by the recession) and the “next generation left” (socially conscious liberal arts school types).   

Looking towards the midterm elections this fall, this fragmented center spells trouble for both parties. Republicans and Democrats will have to find ways to appeal to voters in these highly diverse subcategories in order to build coalitions. Getting these less partisan voters to the polls will be its own challenge. As the study indicates, “one early indicator of voter turnout is attention to government and public affairs, and fewer than half in these groups are following politics.”

To coincide with the publication of the typology, Pew also released a quiz that allows voters to see what group they fit into. The quiz is pretty simplistic; each question has only two multiple-choice answers—one hardline conservative and one progressive—and I don’t think there’s anyone left in the US besides the Kochs who thinks large corporations don’t have enough power, as one question asks. Yet the results, which show your answers in comparison to those of the general population, may surprise you (an example: only 27% of the population thinks racial discrimination is a persistent problem). Take the quiz to see where you fall on the multicolored political spectrum.

Allegra Kirkland is AlterNet's associate managing editor. Her writing has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Salon, Daily Serving and The Nation.

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