The Political Taxonomy, 2021

Every so often over the last 35 years Pew Research has produced what they call their “political typology” for the United States. Their most recent analysis was published about a month ago and I encourage you to read it. Here’s the opening section:

Partisan polarization remains the dominant, seemingly unalterable condition of American politics. Republicans and Democrats agree on very little – and when they do, it often is in the shared belief that they have little in common.

Yet the gulf that separates Republicans and Democrats sometimes obscures the divisions and diversity of views that exist within both partisan coalitions – and the fact that many Americans do not fit easily into either one.

As the graphic above, sampled from the post, illustrates, they divide the U. S. political taxonomy into nine groups:

  • Faith and Flag Conservatives
  • Committed Conservatives
  • Populist Right
  • Ambivalent Right
  • Stressed Sideliners
  • Outsider Left
  • Democratic Mainstays
  • Establishment Liberals
  • Progressive Left

After reading their descriptions I don’t feel that I fit comfortably into any of those groups. My political views have been aptly characterized as “eclectic”. I don’t fit the profile of “Stressed Sideliners” although I have much in common with them and I have some basic disagreements with with “Democratic Mainstays” although I have much in common with them as well. My views are even more different form the other groups.

I do wonder if the members of the Progressive Left who certainly seem to have the whip hand in crafting federal Democratic policy these days recognize what a small proportion of the American people they comprise? I suspect that either they don’t care or believe against all evidence that there are many, many more members of of their group out there than actually exist.

I attribute my views to having seen too much of the inner workings of large corporations and federal, state, and local government in all its branches not to view them cynically.

At any rate if you read the linked article you may see yourself. Or, like me, not.

8 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    The quiz placed me in the ambivalent right, as someone fiscally conservative/ socially liberal, with relatively low political engagement. Usually in political compass quizzes I am in the libertarian quadrant close to the center. I really don’t see myself as libertarian, but forced into false choice questions, its probably my default.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Took the quiz, ambivalent right.
    I’m sure it’s difficult to construct a survey to categorize people politically.
    But, questions, such as,
    “Do you think greater social acceptance of people who are transgender (people who identify as a gender that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth) is…”
    Greater social acceptance is one thing, government passing laws to enforce that and criminalize speech is another.
    My high school civics teacher once tried to kill his 50 minutes by assigning us to essay on a simple question.
    Should the United States use nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union?
    He ridiculed me in front of the class for my simple answer.
    Under what circumstances?

  • steve Link

    Needs a conspiracy prone category for the right.


  • Jan Link

    Stressed sideliner was my slot in this quiz. Somehow, this didn’t seem to fit where I think I am

  • Drew Link

    Ambivalent right. But who knows? The question construction precluded any sense of nuanced response. Like performing brain surgery with a chain saw.

  • Drew Link

    “Shoulder to shoulder” with Chris Cuomo. Must be something in the water at CNN.

  • steve Link

    “Must be something in the water at CNN.”

    Just trying to keep up with Fox.


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