Political Survey: Statements

This is the list of statements about which we ask the opinion of punters. Each statement has a "normal" and a "converse" form. We ask each statement once, choosing the normal or converse form at random, and for a few statements, also ask them in their second form. The idea of this is that we can later see whether the answers to the two forms of each question are inversely correlated, as they should be. This tests whether the statements are balanced.

(Statements have a "category", too, but it's not used and isn't stored in the on-line database.)

The only feature that these statements need is that they garner a range of answers: since we only allow five shades of opinion for each question, it's important that we don't throw away any part of the dynamic range. With enough answers to the quiz (much more than five) it is possible to tell whether this criterion has been achieved. Beyond this, bias in the statements doesn't much matter.

A second requirement is that the whole set of statements describes the whole space of peoples' political views. This is harder to verify. As a first stab, I want to compile the responses we would expect from well-known figures such as contemporary politicians and see whether the statements separate them from one another as much as we would like intuitively.


(You can also get a copy of the statements in CSV format suitable for reading into a spreadsheet.)


ID Normal statement Converse statement
0New roads and railways should be built by private companies, not the government.New roads and railways should be built by the government, not private companies.
1Services like health care, education and social security should be provided by the government, not by private enterprise.Services like health care, education and social security should be provided by private enterprise, not by the government.
2Sometimes interest rates should be raised to reduce inflation, even if doing so would cause a large number of job losses.It's not worth raising interest rates to reduce inflation if this would result in the loss of large numbers of jobs.
3Drivers should pay enough tax to cover the cost of environmental damage caused by motor transport, even if that would price some people off the roads.Drivers shouldn't have to pay taxes to cover damage to the environment caused by motor transport, since that would price some people off the roads.
4The wealthy should pay a larger proportion of their income in tax than the poor.The wealthy shouldn't pay a larger proportion of their income in tax than the poor.
5The government should raise revenue by taxing consumption rather than income.The government should raise revenue by taxing income rather than consumption.
6Overall, economic migrants bring benefits to our country.Overall, economic migrants are a drain on our country.
7The government should subsidise farmers so that they stay in business, even if it would be cheaper to buy food from abroad.There's no need to subsidise farmers if we can buy food more cheaply from abroad, even if that meant they went out of business.
8Smokers should be required to kick the habit before receiving medical care for smoking-related illnesses.Smokers should be able to receive medical care for smoking-related illnesses even if they still smoke.
9Everyone bears a moral responsibility for the actions of their government, even when they do not support them.Nobody bears a moral responsibility for actions of their government if they don't support them.
10Anybody who wants top-quality health care should expect to have to pay for it.Everybody has a right to top-quality health care, even if they aren't wealthy.
11The mix of minorities in public institutions should reflect their numbers in the general population.It doesn't matter whether the mix of minorities in public institutions reflects their numbers in the general population.
12Having individual local representatives is more important than electing parties in exact proportion to their support.It's more important that we elect parties in exact proportion to their support than that we each have individual local representatives.
13Officials like public prosecutors should be directly elected rather than chosen by the government.Officials like public prosecutors should be chosen by the government, not directly elected.
14For society to be cohesive, it is important that everyone shares a common language.A common language is not necessary for a cohesive society.
15Legal protection for free expression creates more trouble than it's worth.We should maintain the right to free expression, even if some people use it to create trouble.
16Nobody should go hungry, even if they refuse to work.People who refuse to work should run the risk of going hungry.
17Some art should receive government funding.Art shouldn't receive government funding.
18Our nation has a glorious history.Our nation's history is not particularly glorious.
19A person's social status shouldn't depend on who their parents are.A person's social status should depend on who their parents are.
20We should offer sanctuary to anybody fleeing persecution.We can't offer sanctuary to everyone who is fleeing persecution.
21There are some ethnic groups who can never be fully integrated into our society.People of any ethnic group can be fully integrated into our society.
22Everyone should stand up for the National Anthem.There is no reason to stand up for the National Anthem.
23Class distinctions should exist.Class distinctions should not exist.
24To protect society from drug abuse, narcotics must be banned.It is not necessary to ban narcotics to protect society from drug abuse.
25Alcohol is a more dangerous drug than marijuana.Marijuana is a more dangerous drug than alcohol.
26Shared religious beliefs should be an important part of our society.Shared religious belief isn't an important part of our society.
27Family is more important than society.Society is more important than family.
28Sometimes the only way to make a legitimate point of view heard is to break the law.It is never necessary to break the law to make a legitimate point of view heard.
29Our society needs more lawyers.Our society doesn't need any more lawyers.
30Some crimes are so serious that the only proper punishment is the death penalty.No crime, however serious, should be punished by death.
31Dealing with nuisance crimes like petty vandalism makes serious crime less likely.Dealing with nuisance crimes like petty vandalism doesn't make serious crime less likely.
32Everyone should have the right to trial by jury.Trial by jury shouldn't always be available by right.
33It's more important to rehabilitate criminals than to punish them.It's more important to punish criminals than to rehabilitate them.
34It is only acceptable to use proportionate force to defend your property from criminals.It is acceptable to use any amount of force you choose to defend your property from criminals.
35Members of our society should be familiar with the history and traditions of our culture.Members of society needn't be familiar with the history and traditions of our culture.
36Overall, young people benefit from compulsory military service.Overall, young people don't benefit from compulsory military service.
37Schools should concentrate on training people for the workforce.Schools should do much more than just training people for the workforce.
38Schools should not teach children anything which contradicts their parents' religious faith.Sometimes schools should teach children things which contradict their parents' religious faith.
39Some people should not have access to the Internet.Everyone should have access to the Internet.
40Correct grammar is important.Correct grammar doesn't matter.
41Scientists bear no moral responsibility for how their discoveries are used.Scientists bear a moral responsibility for how their discoveries are used.
42Some technologies should never be used, whatever their benefits.We should make use of any technology, if it benefits us.
43Some medical research would require so many animal experiments that it should not be done, whatever the benefits.Beneficial medical research should always go ahead, however many animal experiments would be performed
44Religious faith should be based on the literal word of God.Religious faith needn't be based on the literal word of God.
45There is a place for organised religion in government.There is no place for organised religion in government.
46There are some sexual acts which are immoral, even between consenting adults.There is no such thing as an immoral sexual act between consenting adults.
47It is immoral to be lazy.Laziness is not immoral.
48It is never moral to break the law.Breaking the law is not always immoral.
49No woman should be allowed to have an abortion, whatever the circumstances.Abortion is acceptable in some cases.
50National law should always override international agreements.Sometimes international agreements should override national law.
51Sometimes civilians are a legitimate military target.Civilians are never a legitimate military target.
52The people of this country have a very different character to those of our neighbours.Fundamentally, the people of this country have the same character as those of our neighbours.
53Aid projects abroad should always be funded by charities, not the taxpayer.Some overseas aid projects should be funded by the taxpayer, and can't be left to charities.
54It's acceptable for a businessman to bribe a foreign official to complete a sale.It's unacceptable for a businessman to bribe a foreign official to complete a sale.
55Our armed forces should intervene to stop genocide in other countries.Our armed forces shouldn't intervene in other countries, even to stop genocide.
56Our sense of right and wrong comes from religious faith.We don't need religious faith to have a sense of right and wrong.
57Children should always obey their parents.Sometimes children shouldn't obey their parents.
58In the right circumstances, cutting taxes can increase government revenue.Cutting taxes can't ever increase government revenue.
59Economic globalisation will increase inequality.Economic globalisation will decrease inequality.
60It's more important to make the poor richer than to decrease the gap between rich and poor.It's more important to decrease the gap between rich and poor than to make the poor richer.
61There is a danger that some large corporations will become more powerful than governments.Governments will always be more powerful than large corporations.
62Aggressive foreign policies can put a stop to international terrorism.Aggressive foreign policies will not put a stop to international terrorism.
63Drug abuse is a problem primarily because of its effects on drug users, not its effects on the rest of society.Drug abuse is a problem primarily because of its effects on society, not its effects on drug users alone.
64The only way for some workers to achieve fair pay is through collective bargaining.Workers don't need to resort to collective bargaining to achieve fair pay.
65Nobody should be sacked for going on strike.Sometimes it's necessary to sack people who go on strike.
66Small businesses are more important to the economy than large corporations.Large corporations are more important to the economy than small businesses.
67The government should act to stop companies paying executives excessive salaries.Companies should be free to pay their executives any salary, however large.
68Workers in the public sector should be paid as much as those doing similar jobs in private industry.Workers in the public sector shouldn't expect to earn as much as those doing similar jobs in private industry.

Now you're done reading those, you can take the survey, if you haven't done so already.


Political Survey: an open, honest version of politicalcompass.org.
Copyright 2003 Chris Lightfoot. Available under a Creative Commons Licence.
Sponsored by Mythic Beasts Ltd.