How Liberal Do You Think You Are?

A new paper by James Rockey finds “that somehow voters consistently misperceive where they lie on the ideological spectrum.” More-educated people, for example, “believe themselves to be more left-wing than their actual beliefs on a substantive issue might suggest.” Rockey also found that men consistently perceive themselves as being more right-wing than women. (HT: Marginal Revolution)[%comments]


Perhaps slightly off topic, but you can go here:

And take a series of studies. One of the studies compares your explicit party identification to your implicit identification. It is called "Party over Policy".

There are many tests, and I cannot remember if you can pick specific tests, or if it is random.

Chris Devers

Mother Jones has a more detailed summary:

That in turn links to the paper here:


My wife (and I'm sure many others) would argue that the last phrase would also be accurate, if less relevant, if stated "men consistently perceive themselves as being more right than women"...

On topic, I'm assuming that votes are typically based on perception not the true underlying values...


Put me in a room of conservatives (my relatives), and I appear very liberal. But put me in a room of liberals (my college friends), and I appear to be the conservative one.

Joe D

Perhaps because all we hear from Scream News is how "socialist" perfectly reasonable goals for government are?


@Joe D

"perfectly reasonable goals for government"

That's a subjective statement if I've ever seen one.


This just drives me nuts. I have to listen to my friends refer to themselves as Liberals and watch them consistently vote for Democrats, when their views are clearly middle rights and not far left.


Thankfully, I'm not that liberal. Liberalism is a disease.


Nobody knows where they are on the spectrum because the far right keeps moving further right so fast that it's hard to tell what's "centrist" anymore.


I'd love to know why you, Americans, call socialists - liberals. There is nothing liberal in raising taxes.


I am a libertarian. That is not a liberal. I believe in a person's right to do what they want as long as they don't harm others.

That means legalize drugs. The drug war will never be won. A person can get high all they want, but the minute they hurt someone else then they are in trouble.

But I also believe in limited gov't. Less gov't programs so less spending so less taxes. Also I believe in limited wel-fare. Say you can be on it for 3 to 5 years then no more benefits.

So in some ways I am with the left and in some ways I am with the right.



"it can, where it is strong and accepted as logical and legitimate, undermine the faith of peoples, nations and cultures in their own worth, undermine their will to defend themselves, and leave them open to enslavement by those who still have that faith and that will. I mentioned in the beginning that cosmopolitanism feels as good as sex and drugs. Like those, it helps transmit a kind of disease. Cosmopolitanism, because it is a local phenomenon, that weakens, locally, is a sort of societal HIV, a disease that does not kill, of its own, but destroys the resistance of those who acquire it to those things that do kill. "

HT LTC Tom Kratman, USA (ret)


My guess is that most Americans are Libertarians but don't say it because they either don't understand what it means or feel uncomfortable being branded as different from the status quo. Unfortunately this adherence to the "familiar" is to the detriment of us all.


American Democrats (liberals?) are Europe's conservatives and American Conservatives are Europe's far-right, neo-nazi groups have similar views over here.


You've had stories about how people fake being Christian in the Bible belt and I'm sure lots of people fake being liberals (and even know to use the proper term, "progressive") when surrounded by liberals.


I'm sorry, but neo-nazi/nazi aren't far right. Nazi=National Socialists. Since when socialists are far right?

Nuclear Mom

Agree with No. 4, Greg.

Never fails to amaze me that my husband and I trust opposite parties, but agree almost 100% on initiative votes here in California, where policy decisions are made in the ballot box. (Not saying initiatives are good government, just commenting that we almost always agree on what good public policy is.)

Ervan D

This doesn't say to me that educated liberals are more moderate than they think. It says the country (demographic political center) is further left than they realized.


In our society, the political spectrum just allows people different venues in which to complain.

In the levels of government where policy decisions are made (what is widely and simplistically referred to as "the bureaucracy"), political leanings, writ large, don't have a huge bearing on the way that the country/state are run. Most government practitioners apply an educated pragmatism that is specialized to their particular field.

Outside of government, politics have close to no influence over the way that most jobs are done. There is work to do, and there are alternatives to be weighed or an established protocol.

So where to "political affiliations" actually matter? Aside from deciding who fills the government's highest offices, designations of Democrat and Republican just don't matter very much at all. Of course, there is a multi-billion dollar industry that is built around deliberation on the significance of current events, and in the process, entrenching worldviews on one "side" or the other. If people stopped identifying with "liberals" or "conservatives", our economy would suffer a huge blow.



Radio host Dennis Prager has had this theory forever. He even has a list of positions as expressed by the leading left of center media organs -- NYT's, New Republic, etc -- and asks liberals how many of them they agree with. He's found that they often disagree with the majority. He thus infers that most people who say they're liberal, aren't.

The list can be found here:

There are some obvious framing issues in the way the positions are stated, so take it with a grain of salt.