Via Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com, I came across the Center for American Progress's new interactive quiz. Nate's analysis found that there wasn't really much of a pattern in the answers given by conservatives and progressives/liberals--which is somewhat odd, given that the two groups are normally conceived of as being, if not exactly mirror images of one another, at least at opposite ends of the spectrum from one another. It would seem, however, that there's a bigger mushy middle than we had imagined.
Then there's me. I've always thought of myself as being liberal, but not ultra-ultra anything. The CAP quiz has a possible score of 400, out of which I scored 350. According to them, that makes me "extremely progressive." The average (by which they mean "mean") score for all Americans is 209.5. The average score for Catholics is 210.8; for people with a post-graduate education, 227.0; for progressives, 237.6; for Democrats, 237.7; for liberals, 242.3; for 2008 Obama voters, 244.0; and for liberal Democrats, 247.1. I'm a hundred points more liberal than liberals, Obama voters, and liberal Democrats. I'm almost a hundred and fifty points more liberal than the average Catholic, and around a hundred and thirty points more liberal than the average person with a postgraduate degree.
By contrast, the average score for conservative Republicans is 160.6; for Republicans, 168.4; for 2008 McCain voters, 169.0; for conservatives, 177.9; for Baptists, 196.4; for whites, 203.7; for men, 204.3. I find it interesting that apparently the average McCain voter is a little more conservative than generic conservatives, and a little less conservative than self-described conservative Republicans. I'm also intrigued to note that Republicans seem to be out-conservativing their traditional base (white men)--which does not bode well for them making any kind of a real comeback anytime soon, since if you ask Republicans what they need to do to get back into power, they say it's to be more conservative, more ideologically
pure rigid, and less open to compromise (which I'm not sure it's possible to be).
I'll be interested to see what else Nate has in store after chewing on these numbers a bit more.