Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The Political Compass

On his sidebar, Les mentions his position on the Political Compass which offers a two-dimensional representation of political views. This is instead of the more typically 1-dimensional representation of ‘left-wing’, ‘centre-right’, ‘far-right’, etc. The two dimensions produce two scores – one for the more traditional economic left-wing/right-wing reading and one for a social libertarian/authoritarian reading.

A truly ‘central’ person gets a compass reading of (0,0) – more liberal people will get negative scores and more conservative people will get positive scores. It’s therefore of little surprise that both of my scores are negative, placing me at (-4.62,-4.00). Surprisingly, this is more than Les, who has (-4.62,-4.92), making him more of a social liberal, but about the same on the economic scale.
What is most interesting is comparing your readings with those of political parties and politicians. The UK political party that, according to this site, most closely matches my political beliefs is the Green Party – surprising as I’ve never considered voting for them before; normally I vote Liberal Democrat who happen to be the next closest despite being more economically right-wing.
As for politicians, of those still alive I’m closest to Nelson Mandela and The Dalai Lama, and furthest away from Saddam Hussein, Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush (not a huge surprise there then). For politicians now deceased, Ghandi seems to be a close match, unlike Yasser Arafat who was also quite distant. Again that is interesting as while I’ve generally been pro-Palestine in the Palestine-Israel conflict, I think both sides have got a lot to answer for. Choosing between the two would be like choosing which arm you would want amputating – you’d go for the one you didn’t write with but really you’d prefer not to have either removed if possible.
As for the US Elections, Walt Brown, Ralph Nader and David Cobb were the closest matches, but I don’t think I would have voted for any of them considering none of them would have had a chance of getting in since very few others in the US supported them. The next best match is John Kerry, who would have been my choice. Interestingly George W. Bush wasn’t the worst match in the case – Michael Peroutka, of the Constitution Party was even further away. This matches the results of a poll that I took last December where his running mate Howard Philips was similarly distant. Bush only did slightly better in that, with Kerry 9th; however this was before the primaries when several more left-wing Democrats like Howard Dean were still in the running.


  1. Your political compass
    Economic Left/Right: -6.88
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.49
    I think it’s clear I’m voting Green party again this year then.

  2. I usually get an Economic score of +1 and a Liberal score of -4, haven’t done it in ages though!

  3. *Economic Left/Right:* -4.88, *Social Libertarian/Authoritarian:* -5.08… that puts me in line with Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and the Dalai Lama. I think I’m okay with that. 🙂

  4. Heh. I wrote about the Political Compass last February – it’s not often I’m ahead of Neil 😉 Then, I was rated as -2.50, -4.87, but I’ve just repeated the test: -4.62, -3.90, which might reflect the impact of, well, let’s just say ‘international affairs’, on my attitudes.

  5. Well, it’s nice to see that most of us are very liberal minded 🙂