Whose side are you on?

There’s a new web site that allows people to figure out which party best correlates with their views.  As expected, the questions don’t really get at my views, but FWIW here’s a screen shot of how it described my answers:

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 11.56.07 AM

The fact that I’m much more Socialist than Republican tells a lot about the direction the GOP has drifted since the Reagan era.  Back in 1981 I don’t believe they would have been asking about global warming and evolution, and I doubt that more immigration or a higher debt ceiling would have been seen as an anti-GOP position.

PS.  I’d like to strongly associate with these remarks by Alex Tabarrok:

I feel fortunate to have never been emotionally invested in the winner of any election. It’s all a carnival of buncombe to me-a giant robbers cave experiment for the amusement of those in the know.



42 Responses to “Whose side are you on?”

  1. Gravatar of Steve Reilly Steve Reilly
    4. November 2013 at 09:46

    You agree with both the Libertarians and the Greens on healthcare? Aren’t they on opposite ends of the spectrum with regard to government interference in health care markets?

  2. Gravatar of babar babar
    4. November 2013 at 10:05

    i think you mean “whose” and not “who’s”.

  3. Gravatar of Bob Bob
    4. November 2013 at 10:12

    It’s pretty easy to agree with libertarians and greens at once.

    Have a single payer system for what today we’d call catastrophic insurance, and then minimize government intervention after that. In essence, it’s building a safety net for the things where the purely private solution is not morally acceptable.

    The current system is based on having the government do very intrusive regulation, instead of either doing the job or let the market decide. It’s a textbook example of regulatory capture.

  4. Gravatar of @YoungEcon @YoungEcon
    4. November 2013 at 10:19

    Libertarians: healthcare, foreign policy and environmental 74%

    Greens: foreign policy, healthcare, economic, immigration, science 71%

    Democrats: domestic, economic, immigration, science 65%

    Republicans: no major issues 20%

    Socialist: immigration 19%

  5. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    4. November 2013 at 10:37

    The link sent me to the Australian version of the quiz; apparently I’m loosely in line with the sitting Liberal party overall, despite totally disagreeing on refugee policy on which I voted the last election. Robber’s Cave it may be, but let’s not deny that these quizzes are fun 😉

  6. Gravatar of Saturos Saturos
    4. November 2013 at 10:38

    They’re also pretty good for ad revenue, I gather.

  7. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. November 2013 at 10:45

    Steve, That’s what I thought.

    Thanks babar.

    Saturos, I don’t make much on ads. 🙁

  8. Gravatar of Bret Bret
    4. November 2013 at 10:52

    The fact that I’m much more Socialist than Republican…

    Yup, environmentalist are watermelons. Green on the outside, red on the inside.

  9. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    4. November 2013 at 10:56

    I took the quiz. Here’s my results:


    Democratic (81%) on foreign policy, economic, environmental, healthcare, and science issues.

    Green Party (80%) on foreign policy, environmental, healthcare, science, and social issues.

    Libertarians (54%) no major issues.

    Socialist (44%) on healthcare issues.

    Republicans (10%) no major issues.

    I used to vote straight Libertarian until 2000 and have voted straight Democratic ever since. This is mostly because I now hate the Republican party so much I vote Democratic just in order to defeat Republicans. Thus my positions have probably crept closer to Democratic ones over the years just from having voted Democratic. (We are what we do more than what we believe.)

    I’m surprised that my Green results were so high and my Libertarian results were so low. The Socialist result is amusing since I once voted for a Socialist Workers Party candidate just so I could vote against the Republican.

  10. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    4. November 2013 at 11:06

    Have you ever taken the “Which famous economist are you most similar to?” Quiz?


    Apparently my views are most like Barry Eichengreen’s which doesn’t surprise me one bit.

  11. Gravatar of Tom Brown Tom Brown
    4. November 2013 at 11:35

    Thanks for posting: I find both Scott’s and Mark’s results to be very interesting.

  12. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    4. November 2013 at 11:36

    Off Topic.

    Recall that I developed my own relatively simple nowcast model based on the subcomponents of GDP using currently available monthly FRED data. You were kind enough to tootle my results last quarter:


    Last time I deflated projected PCE and non-PCE differently so this likely made the model biased. The simplest solution is to deflate everything by the projected GDP implicit price deflator. If I had done that for 2013Q2 the projected RGDP growth would have been 1.7% which happens to be exactly what the BEA reported in its initial estimate. So this time I am deflating everything by the projected GDP implicit price deflator.

    I project RGDP will grow by 2.5%, the implicit price deflator will be 2.1%, and NGDP will increase by 4.7% in 2013Q3.

    The only major private forecast I can find is by Macroeconomic Advisers and they are projecting 2.6% RGDP growth:


    Last time Macroeconomic Advisers projected 0.6% RGDP growth for 2013Q2 which was in the middle of the 0.3% to 1.1% range of the other major private forecasts. Thus my forecast was a major outlier. This time there’s almost no difference so there is less to crow about if I am close to the actual result.

    P.S. In my opinion success or failure should be measured against the BEA first estimate, not the final estimate. Obviously the estimate can be refined over time with more or better data. That’s why the first estimate is called a *nowcast*.

  13. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    4. November 2013 at 11:45

    That’s funny Mark, I feel about the same re Democrats. But then I’ve lived near Chicago for a while.

    A lot of the questions are arguably misleading. For instance, there’s a question about punishing Wall Street execs for the subprime crisis, but not government officials and/or GSEs. The “2003 Bush tax cuts” were extended by Obama, mainly because to do otherwise would amount to a giant tax hike on the middle class. And “stem cell research” is largely noncontroversial, except for harvesting aborted fetuses.

    Parties you side with…

    83% Republicans on economic, foreign policy, domestic policy, environmental, immigration, and healthcare issues
    65% Libertarians on economic, domestic policy, and healthcare issues
    43% Green on domestic policy, social, and science issues
    37% Democrats on science issues
    9% Socialist no major issues

    I can’t think of any science issues I actually agree with Democrats on, if anything their jihad against good science is the aspect of the party I most abhor.

  14. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    4. November 2013 at 11:50

    “I find both Scott’s and Mark’s results to be very interesting.”

    Socialist: Scott 51%, Mark 44%
    I’m expecting an I told you so from Geoff.

    I scored:
    62% Republican
    52% Democrat
    34% Libertarian
    24% Green
    5% Socialist

    I’m not surprised no group scored high given that I consider myself purple and a pragmatist rather than an ideologue.

    Incidentally, I got the Republican score from selecting “states rights” answers, rather than a definitive policy preference.

  15. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    4. November 2013 at 11:54

    Here’s something worth thinking about.

    How many of the economic issues questions were specifically about monetary policy? None of course.

    There were several relating to fiscal policy, in particular the question on the fiscal stimulus.

    This is just as well since, which of the five political parties has a coherent position on monetary policy? None of course.

  16. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    4. November 2013 at 12:10

    The fact that I’m much more Socialist than Republican tells a lot about the direction the GOP has drifted since the Reagan era.

    I suspect it has more to do with the fact you’re in academia. I was about where you and Mark are until after I graduated and learned about the gigantic information filtering problem that wildly favors Democrats in news and academia — something the country as a whole is learning this past month as the promises of Obamacare run head-on into the reality.

  17. Gravatar of Simon Simon
    4. November 2013 at 12:15

    Saturos, is there any way us Aussies can take the US test? Especially considering we have no libertarian party.

  18. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. November 2013 at 13:00

    TallDave, But I’ve been against Obamacare from the beginning.

  19. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    4. November 2013 at 13:01

    Mark, I’d take that test if I had an hour of free time–which I don’t.

  20. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    4. November 2013 at 13:12

    Scott — Sure, but it’s a topic for which you have better information filters than most — in newsmedia and academia generally, it probably ran to 70%-80% approval. Thus the wrongness of many of the claims, obvious to you and I, are a source of astonishment and perplexity to much of the nation.

  21. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    4. November 2013 at 13:48

    “I’d take that test if I had an hour of free time-which I don’t.”

    The economist quiz will give you reasonably accurate results if you answer as few as 20 questions. (If you take it you’ll see what I mean.) The political quiz in contrast has 55 questions. How you budget your time is your own business, but gee wiz!

  22. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    4. November 2013 at 14:04

    I also can only take the Australian version, and I am very close to all three parties (60% Labour, 59% Green, 56% Liberal) but I suspect that says something about policy convergence among the major parties. I favour the Liberals on economic issues, which hardly surprises me.

    Australia has preferential voting (great system, it gives the voters much better options). When I was studying at Sydney University, years ago, I used to work out who I hated most, put them last, and work my way up. (I still vote for the Senate like that.) At the end of that process, I would find “gee, I voted for Tony Abbott again”. It was the late 1970s and Cold War issues loomed rather large.

  23. Gravatar of Bill Ellis Bill Ellis
    4. November 2013 at 14:14

    I keep saying in reality, libertarians are more alined with the the dems than the repubs.
    I think that is where the political nihilism so common with libertarians comes from. The cognitive dissonance they feel when they identify with the right, but constantly find themselves more in agreement with the left—compels them to denigrate the utility of being actively partisan, so they can disengage from the conflict…instead of doing the rational thing and backing the agent of governmental change that would move things in their direction.

  24. Gravatar of Bonnie Bonnie
    4. November 2013 at 14:17

    Treebeard (LOTR) said, “I’m on nobody’s side because nobody’s on my side.” And I think that about sums it up for me. It’s one thing to take a position on something and quite another to 1) mean it, 2) do something about it, 3) care more about the “General Welfare” than political tribalism and arbitrary power.

  25. Gravatar of FXKLM FXKLM
    4. November 2013 at 15:28

    The Republican and Libertarian parties were nearly tied for first, but I had write-in responses to about half of the questions so I don’t think the test is terribly reliable.

  26. Gravatar of Mike Sax Mike Sax
    4. November 2013 at 16:55

    “I used to vote straight Libertarian until 2000 and have voted straight Democratic ever since. This is mostly because I now hate the Republican party so much I vote Democratic just in order to defeat Republicans. Thus my positions have probably crept closer to Democratic ones over the years just from having voted Democratic. (We are what we do more than what we believe.)”

    Mark if you hate the Republicans we ought to be friends- just saying.

    It turns out I agree with the Democrats on 97% of issues, the Greens on 95%, the Socialists with 75% and there’s a lot of crossover among the the three.

    I agree with the Libertarians 30% of the time-mostly on foreign policy stuff though I certainly agree with a pot legalization and decriminalization of other drugs.

    I agree with the GOP on 1% of issues. However, even Scott only agrees with them 27% of the time. Yet, they don’t think there’s anything wrong with their agenda just that they don”t get candidates that explain it right. They just have to package it better.

  27. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    4. November 2013 at 17:01

    Libertarians: 68% (Domestic policy, foreign policy, healthcare)

    Greens: 65% (Foreign policy, social, environmental, and science)

    Republicans: 64% (Economic issues)

    Democrats: 58% (Foreign policy, social, and science)

    Socialist: 24% (No major issues)

    One of the things about the Libertarian party in the US is that it doesn’t seem to be very socially liberal.

    Bill Ellis,

    I think that libertarians have a lot of common ground with the left (one way of explaining libertarianism to unfamiliar folk is “economically right-wing, socially left-wing”) but moreso the Greens than the Democrats. This shouldn’t be too surprising: both modern libertarianism and modern environmentalism are products of the 1960s, and have a similar taste for freedom. The difference come about how to apply that desire for freedom to the issues of the environment, anything involving exchanges of money, and the female reproductive system.

  28. Gravatar of Mark A. Sadowski Mark A. Sadowski
    4. November 2013 at 20:26

    Mike Sax,
    “Mark if you hate the Republicans we ought to be friends- just saying.”

    How can you be sure this post, Scott’s quiz results, and mine, aren’t an elaborate conspiracy designed specifically to fool you into thinking that MM isn’t really a secret Republican ploy to shrink government spending? (Just saying.)

  29. Gravatar of MikeF MikeF
    5. November 2013 at 03:55

    It looks like your opinions on Global warming puts you in the Green/Democratic camp….

    The Democratic Party Platform states:

    Global climate change is the planet’s greatest threat, and our response will determine the very future of life on this earth. … We will implement a market-based cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions by the amount scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic change and we will set interim targets along the way to ensure that we meet our goal. We will invest in advanced energy technologies…. We will use innovative measures to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of buildings, including establishing a grant program for early adopters and providing incentives for energy conservation.[189]

    * The Republican Party Platform states:

    As part of a global climate change strategy, Republicans support technology-driven, market-based solutions that will decrease emissions, reduce excess greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, increase energy efficiency, mitigate the impact of climate change where it occurs, and maximize any ancillary benefits climate change might offer for the economy. …

    Empowering Washington will only lead to unintended consequences and unimagined economic and environmental pain; instead, we must unleash the power of scientific know-how and competitive markets.[190]

    I prefer the Republican platform….I am opposed to a cap and trade system and s strong supporter of natural gas…

    At one time I pretty much bought into the global warming, but have become increasingly skeptical with the very poor performance of the models…and basically no warming in 17 years…call me anti intellectual…

  30. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. November 2013 at 05:43

    Mark, My mistake, I didn’t see all the extra political questions below the fold. I only took a small part of the test.

    W. Peden, I thought the Libertarians were socially liberal. Has that changed?

  31. Gravatar of W. Peden W. Peden
    5. November 2013 at 06:41

    Scott Sumner,

    I base this on the fact that if you look at the specific party issue-by-issue breakdown on that site, things like supporting gay marriage and being pro-choice don’t come up as “things you agree with the Libertarians on”.

    I imagine they’re still more socially liberal than either of the two main parties, and Gary Johnson is definitely a social liberal (as well as being the best Libertarian candidate for president ever).

  32. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    5. November 2013 at 07:05

    I keep saying in reality, libertarians are more alined with the the dems than the repubs.

    Really depends what you care about. Kansas is pretty far from legalizing pot or endorsing gay marriage, but Vermont is equally far from embracing free-market healthcare (they are actually planning on moving to single-payer). The great migration of economic production and jobs from CA to TX is counterbalanced by their social legislation.

    Of course as Mark points out both parties are hopeless on what is probably the most important issue in terms of maximizing overall utility — Dems would rather do ineffective fiscal stimulus forever than target NDGP, Repubs are myopically focused on “sound money” despite lack of inflation.

  33. Gravatar of Floccina Floccina
    5. November 2013 at 08:48

    If we could put aside our differences in values and just get rid of the stupid and scam stuff the government does we would be much better off. Republicans would learn how enormous our military is for the post USSR period. Democrats would learn that SS is welfare FICA is a tax and therefore is their is not reason to give more in retirement to those who earned more. We could give up on remaking Afghanistan. We could realize that administration seems to absorb a huge part of the Gov. subsidies to schools and that finding school not in real dollars than we did in 1960 seems to not help.

  34. Gravatar of myb6 myb6
    5. November 2013 at 12:30

    Libertarian, 76: foreign policy, economic, social, immigration, healthcare
    Green, 62: foreign policy, science, environmental
    Democrat, 61: science, environmental
    Republican, 60: economic, immigration
    Socialist, 18: environmental

    With more distributional questions my results might be different (I prefer a small gov’t funded mostly by the wealthy).

    I sometimes wish we had the opportunity to cast more issue-specific votes, like with the Swiss Federal Council or some State offices. But then I remember how much our two political teams despise each other.

  35. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    5. November 2013 at 14:51

    Frankly I don’t know how you guys could score so left.

    83% Libertarian
    59% GOP


    Though I guess I generally expect most of you to prefer to “let states decide” – its an option for so much of the test.

    It’s to me very much like “rule based” MP, distributing reducing risk of decision making is essentially about being anti-fragile.

    I don’t think of MM as being very command and control.

    Do you guys not put much stock in states for a reason?

  36. Gravatar of Matt C Matt C
    5. November 2013 at 14:55

    Green Party 87%
    Democrats 84%
    Socialist 58%
    Libertarians 54%
    Republicans 4%

    It is interesting how well the Green Party has done. It is too bad the actual Green party can’t build any momentum. It seems many Americans do value funding for science, environmental care, ect…

  37. Gravatar of Chuck E Chuck E
    5. November 2013 at 16:23

    Libertarians 73%
    Green Party 59%
    Republicans 53%
    Democrats 46%
    Socialist 20%

    I am amazed that I scored any Socialist.

  38. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. November 2013 at 06:58

    W. Peden, Good point.

  39. Gravatar of MikeDC MikeDC
    6. November 2013 at 08:19

    Libertarians 83%
    Republicans 73%
    Democrats 41%
    Green 17%
    Socialist 5%

    This seems about right. More importantly, the odd results many get (like Scott Sumner being a Green/Socialist) seem to largely come from failing to spend any time weighting the importance of the categories.

    Just like real voting, our system sucks because people vote expressively (for what they feel) rather than instrumentally (to accomplish policy).

    What’s “important” should be:
    1. How big is the issue? The death penalty affects a trivial amount of people, the Obamacare fiasco a huge amount of people.
    2. How can the issue be resolved? As MikeF pointed out, while I might sympathize more with those who suggest Global Warming is a huge problem, the proposed solution of cap and trade is terrible while the GOP solution seems more practical. Likewise, many of the “problems” don’t need solutions imposed by the government, because cultural and social dynamics will resolve them no matter who’s in power (e.g. Gay rights).

    If more people would strip away the less relevant issues and focus on what’s actually in play as it would affect most people, we’d get a much better government.

  40. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    6. November 2013 at 11:49

    Is it actually a Republican position not to believe in the theory of evolution?

  41. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    6. November 2013 at 14:36

    I took the test twice – first with the expanded choices and extra questions, and second, just the main questions and only the initial choices. My scores were very different. When I took the less detailed version, my Green and Democratic scores went way up. My Republican scores went down.

    On the global warming question, the expanded question had a choice “Regardless, we should limit carbon emissions.” So, since I believe global warming is a threat AND I believe regardless we should reduce emissions I chose “Regardless” the first time and “Yes” the second time. Which choice is more “Green”? Wouldn’t a Green want to reduce emissions in any case?

    Now, the past three Republican nominees were on record as believing global warming is a threat and so is the platform, so I’m not sure how the test authors consider the Republican position to be not believing in it. Same with Evolution.

    The test authors are clearly biased against Republicans.

  42. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    7. November 2013 at 19:09

    Negation, That may explain things, I didn’t even notice the expanded version.

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