Survey for determining political persuasion

I wrote a brief survey for a project in my psychology class, and I was wondering if any dopers would be interested in taking it.

I’ve titled the test ‘Survey for Determining Political Persuasion’. It’s consists of seven questions, each focusing on a controversial issue. There are five answers for each question, each with a label ranging from 1 to 5. A ‘1’ answer denotes an extremely authoritarian stance, while a ‘5’, at the opposite end, of the scale denotes an extremely libertarian stance. A ‘2’ and ‘4’ mean moderate leanings toward their respective ends, while a 3 is more neutral and close to what we consider normal in American society (I mention specifically American society because of the question on gun control).

To take the test, start with the first issue, write down the answer you prefer most, and then go on down the list. It’s vital that you record your answers in order, so I can analyze the data for each question, and when you post your results, ** make sure you list your gender **.

Here is a sample of the format I’d like the results in:
M - 4, 4, 5, 4, 5, 4, 5

I’ll put the survey in the next post, and in the post after that, I’ll give some background information and comments on my methodology, for anyone who is interested.


  1. Abortions are never allowed under any circumstance

  2. Abortions are allowed only in case of rape or a medical emergency

  3. Abortions are allowed early in pregnancy, or with doctor’s permission

  4. Abortions are allowed up to the beginning of the 3rd trimester for any reason

  5. Abortions are allowed at any time, for any reason

  6. The government can draft citizens for any reason, and for any length of time

  7. The government can drift citizens whenever it requires soldiers for any military action

  8. The government can draft citizens only in times of war

  9. The government should only draft in times of emergency, such as in case of a foreign invasion

  10. The government can never draft soldiers; the armed forces should be all volunteers
    Drug Legislation

  11. All drugs should be strictly controlled by the government; offenders should face strict penalties

  12. Drugs with mind altering effects and any addiction potential should be strictly controlled

  13. Only certain and specific drugs should be controlled; offenders should receive less harsh penalties

  14. No drugs should be controlled, except in case of dangerous substances

  15. No drugs should be controlled at all

  16. Any information can be regulated or suppressed by the government

  17. Information can be controlled if it is deemed a threat to citizens and the nation

  18. Information can only be controlled in case of clear, identifiable danger

  19. Information can only be controlled in emergency or catastrophic situations

  20. No information should ever be controlled
    Government Programs

  21. The government should tax citizens severely so it can provide a large amount of programs and services

  22. The government should tax heavily so it can provide many programs and services

  23. The government should tax a smaller amount, so it can provide services it deems necessary or beneficial

  24. The government should tax lightly and provide only emergency services

  25. All programs and services should be carried out by commercial enterprises
    **Gun Control **

  26. All firearms should be banned

2.All firearms should be banned, except for extreme situations (massive animal populations, self defense)

  1. Shotguns, rifles, and pistols would be legal, but would be closely monitored and regulated

  2. Only military weapons should be banned, and regulation for legal weapons should be less severe

  3. No firearm, military or otherwise, should be banned
    State Sanctioned Punishment

  4. The state may punish criminals by any means it deems fit (including torture, death)

  5. The state may punish criminals in any manner, except with methods deemed severely inhumane

  6. The state may only punish through fines, probation, incarceration

  7. The state may punish in extreme cases, but will focus mostly on rehabilitation

  8. The state may not punish criminals; it may only isolate them from the public, or attempt to rehabilitate them

Okay, this is the first research survey I’ve ever done, and I notice a few minor flaws in my test, but otherwise, I think I did pretty well. The test is supposed to determine political persuasion, and me and my partner are looking to see if their is any noticeable deviation between the data of males and females.

After we get answers from a subject, we average them together (I still want to keep the data for specific questions though. My partner gave me some data with just the total scores, and I think I’m going to have to toss it). The average will fall on a scale of 1 - 5. In short, 1 means extreme authoritarian, that you believe the government should have the right to do whatever it wants, and 5 means extreme libertarian, that you believe the people should have the right to do whatever they want.

I see now that I made a few mistakes, and the data won’t be as pure as I wished it would be. I can’t revise the test for you guys, because I’ve already have the results of around 30 subjects recorded. As it turns out, I let liberal / conservative and republican / democrat stances sort of leak in. In all fairness though, as long as I give everyone the same test, the data will be consistently relative, and I can still determine the variance between the results of the genders, if on a slightly skewed scale. As of now, there is a deviation of slightly less than .2, with the average for one gender being 2.9, and the average being 2.7 (I forget which is which though because I left my papers at school). So, the difference is negligible.

On to the errors. What I should’ve done for each of the ‘1‘ options was phrase it so it if asked if the government should have the right to do something. However, since each answer set follows the same pattern (1 = very strict, restrictive government, 5 = citizens have the option to do whatever) the scale is relatively accurate. In all honesty, figuring out how liberals / conservatives line up to libertarians / conservatives is making my head hurt.

After I compile the data, I’ll post the results, a histogram, broken down by gender, and some conclusions. I’d like to be able to add another dimension; deviation between the results of two communities; Ridley High School students, faculty / members of the Straight Dope Message Board (I think I’ll change the latter to ‘internet community’. My teacher might find the name odd.) In stats class, my teacher said 30 subjects is a healthy amount. I hope to get either double or triple that.

Please, do give me any comments and recommendations. Thanks everyone.

Argh, I’m a moron. Could a Mod change ‘determing’ to ‘determining’ in the title?

M - 5 - 3 - 4 - 4 - 3 - 3 - 3

F - 3, 4, 2, 4, 3, 1, 3
Questions #1, 2 and to some extent, 6 are a little weighted to gender. You’ll likely get gender-disparate answers to these questions.

*the fact that I’m Canadian may have influenced my answer for the 6th question.

M: 5, 4, 4, 4, 2, 3, 4

Be sure to keep us updated on the results and analysis.


5 2 5 2 5 5 1

M- 2, 2, 3, 4, 3, 3, 2

M- 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 3

M 4, 3, 2, 2, 3, 4, 3

M - 5 4 4 3 3 3 4


5, 4, 5, 3, 4, 5, 3.

I really don’t like the wording on the last question.

If someone is for the death penalty, then they must also be for torture? I also don’t really see the difference between option 4 and 3 there.

F - 3, 4, 3, 4, 4, 3, 4


4, 3, 3, 4, 3, 3, 3

M:- 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 3, 4

Nationally would have an influence on this. On average Europeans would be more pro gun control than Americans for example.


4, 4, 4, 5, 3, 2, 2.

Wow, thanks a lot for all the responses guys.

Debaser I agree with you on the last question. I think I should have worded it so it said the government reserves the right to torture, and I may have unfairly lumped the death penalty together with forms of inhumane treatment.

I’m aware that nationalty may affect the results, but I don’t have the time or the subjects to really focus on that.

I have enough for the overall study, but I’m a bit short of the number needed to give this community its own category. Anyway, I’ll post the results when I’m done.

M - 3, 2, 3, 4, 3, 3, 1

I found “control of information” to be kind of a vague category. I assume that it is meant to cover a spectrum of “national security” issues, from military secrets to the broader category of “state” or “official” secrets which the UK government notoriously has the power to control. However, my own views on the topic are rather dependant on the nature of the information:

I feel, for example, that a government’s power to restrict access to information in its possession should usually be greater than its ability to restrict the dissemination of individuals’ opinions or information that individuals have obtained independantly and by legal means. For example – a government could restrict access to information about troop deployments, or weapons’ capabilities, or the means of producing certain weapons, to certain individuals who swear to maintain secrecy. On the other hand, if a person observes activity around military bases, or independantly reports scientific data that might be relevant to understanding or producing weapons, I don’t think such things should be restrictable (perhaps with some exceptions in situations where there is some immediate and identifiable danger).

There’s also the matter of intellectual property law, with regard to which governments sometimes exercise restrictions, though I do not believe they should. Are you considering merely governmental power enforcable by criminal sanctions, in these questions, or does the creation of civil causes of action apply as well?

Re: Debaser’s comment crime and punishment – in addition to it being questionable to lump capital punishment and torture together, it seemed to me that the question implied that government could apply such punishments arbitrarily, wherever they saw fit. While I favor the existance of capital punishment, I don’t believe it should ever be applied to non-violent crimes, regardless of the state’s judgement. Likewise, I think that other punishments should be subject to certain philosophical/constitutional limitations, rather than simply being within the state’s authority to dispense at whim.

Finally, I think your conscription question leaps too abruptly to an extreme. I believe that conscription should be an option if it was, for some reason, necessary in order to maintain a standing force to repond to threats, not necessarily just for a specific operational purpose. However, I don’t believe that conscription should be for “any length of time”. Time of service should also be a function of what is needed to maintain a necessary force, and should be particularly restricted in the absence of an imminent threat (two to four years, perhaps). I don’t believe that a draft “in the event of war” or “in the event of military action” makes much sense in the 21st century, where wars and military action are likely to transpire too rapidly for conscription to be effective as an emergency measure.

Good luck with your project.

F - 4, 4, 4, 4, ?2, 3, 4

I don’t really like the wording of the taxation question (hence the ?):

Severely is a loaded word, as far as I can tell, and what I think is a necessary/beneficial program may be a frill to others, and vice-versa. Severe taxation is always above what you think is reasonable, as far as I can tell.

My view tends to be coloured by what these services are how they are to be delivered, who really benefits, and so on, not particularly what they cost.

I second the confusion about the control of information question.