Left vs Right v1.5

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

An update of our fabled Left vs Right concept map. Written and art-directed by David McCandless. Designed by Stefanie Posavec.

I’ve finally updated this image after lengthy (and sometimes heated) discussion with right wingers. The goal was to smooth out my biases, really. As a left-leaning journalistic type, I had subtly – and unconsciously – biased the diagram to make the Left seem better than than the Right. But taking in feedback – and no small-amount of fireballs in the comments – I’ve refined the wording and changed a few other subtle elements to hopefully rebalance the image.

If you’re curious and beady-eyed, I’ve set up a little spot-the-difference image. There are five differences.

The image is also on the Guardian Datablog today and printed in the paper. There, I’ve gone into a bit more detail about the process of making the image. Enjoy!

I love this diagram. And I’m really happy to offer you a fresh new gorgeous A2 print of it on FSC-certified Munken art paper. Check out the store. (All monies go back into the website, for paying our lovely contributors etc).

See the US version. See the Rest-of-the-World Version.

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Show Comments ( )

  • Mononofu

    The right wing side seems a bit hypocritical – how can you claim not to interfere with social lives, but then only 44% support gay rights? And only 12% for same-sex marriage? To me, this sure looks like interference..

    • Vir Cantium

      This is where we hit the constraints of the simple right vs. left model, without considering the other axes of authoritarian/libertarian (and the degrees in between).

      A small-government (classical) liberal like myself is not bothered by gay marriage (none of the state’s business*), but some Conservative colleagues recoil in horror at the idea – even though both of us, I would consider, are on the “right”.

      * Then you get those on the left supporting gay marriage on grounds of equality.

    • The Unreal

      It seems hypocritical until you consider that left and right don’t represent wholly cohesive viewpoints. There is another axis at play here: authoritarian libertarian and adding that would make a far more interesting diagram.

    • ctd

      Not hypocritical. Different axioms defining “rights” and “marriage”.

      For the Right…
      A “right” is your freedom/liberty to do Z;nobody else is compelled to respect or facilitate it, only not interfere.
      A “marriage” is ultimately about procreation; if there is zero chance thereof because the plumbing parts aren’t there _and_ aren’t supposed to be there, procreation isn’t just impossible it’s absurd, so the notion becomes nonsensical. Society has a special interest in facilitating procreation, so a committed potentially-procreative relationship (we’re not going to dig into medical specifics; XX+XY is enough) will get special benefits.

      For the Left…
      A “right” compels society to facilitate you doing Z; benign neglect isn’t enough from others, they have to change their behavior to accommodate or even materially support it.
      A “marriage” is ultimately about committed affection; if two people “love each other” then society must facilitate that commitment (whether XX+XY, XX+XX, or XY+XY) with special benefits regardless of procreative potential.

      I’m not trying to instigate argument here, just point out that the two sides are arguing about different things. Using different axioms renders subsequent conclusions reasonable or absurd.

    • iamjoebob

      I spent 20 seconds looking att his and stopped. When there are two GLARING errors and one obvious misuse of colour, why bother.

      Unless it was just to be annoying, why did you switch the identified colours of right v left? It’s jarring, and incongruous with ehat we’re reading. A self-defeating choice.

      Besides the ridiculous assertion that the right seeks to avoid interfering with society and social lives, you also list the Communist party as left, when it is, by all measures of actual performance one of the most right wing parties in history.

      I’m sorry, but I can’t bother to go any further, because if you can’t get the top-most information on your graphic right, I can only assume the rest is crap.

      • Firstname Lastname

        I’m genuinely confused by your post. Red has been the international colour of the left since the red flag was used in the French revolution. Conversely blue has long been seen as the international colour of conservative parties, originating from the use by the Conservative party of the UK. The USA is very unusual in having its liberal party use blue and its conservative party use red.
        The right generally is in favour of free markets, meritocracy, low regulation, small government, low taxes. These things are examples of how the right avoids interference with society. I agree though that interference in social lives is not normally a feature of the right – they love to tell you with whom you may and may not rub genitals.
        In terms of communist parties, their ideology is the distribution and sharing of the articles of consumption by the communal ownership of the means of production. That’s pretty much the definition of the left wing. Granted they are normally massively authoritarian to accomplish this, but authoritarianism is different to “right wing”.

      • Benjamin

        Communism is about as left-wing as you get.

        Go back to school

  • Adam L

    Really interesting. There is still a definite bias towards the left (which is your prerogative of course). This is most clearly seen as the use of “opposites” in some cases which imply negatives on the other side – for instance, you state that left wing families produce “fulfilled adults” which would imply that right-wing families do not.

    As a left winger myself, i value fair representation and thus, while I enjoyed the idea and I appreciate the (great) effort, I would feel slightly awkward sharing this image with my friends as a “neutral representation of left and right wing politics”.

    • Santiago

      I agree with your perception fully. It is a very good infographic in design terms, but it has major fallacies in its arguments. The strawman fallacy says that the arguer will draw a sticks-and-hay, feeble version of the counterargument and then destroy it.


  • Johannes

    Below the graphic the date is stated as “Jul 10″.
    Is that a typo or did you update it one year ago and just wanted to let us know about it?

    • david

      thanks – it’s a typo.

  • Joseph

    You can definitely tell this was not created by a conservative. Even though it gives a generally positive view of conservatives its willing to be critical of conservatives too, without at all being critical of liberals. For example, “survival of the fittest” seems like an odd mantra for conservatives, especially since conservatives give more as a percentage of income to charity than liberals. I think the distinction would be better captured as liberals think the best way to help the poor is through government action and conservatives through private charity.

    As the “equality” section would be much better if it said liberals favor “equality of outcome” whereas conservatives prefer “equality of opportunity.” In other words, liberals more frequently favor laws that give favoritism to disadvantaged groups, whereas conservatives much more prefer laws that are uniform no matter your race, sex or sexual preference.

    Additionally, the rights section, the “others must observe” part is unclear. I think a more tangible distinction between rights is between positive and negative rights. “Others must not interfere” captures the conservative side, I think. Liberals much more favor positive right, like the right to education or healthcare, something that persons must be provided with. Thus, it would be better put “others must provide.”

    I think the previous makes a good point that conservatives seem hypocritical in this diagram. But the diagram should better reflect the hypocrisy on both sides of the political spectrum.

    • ctd

      Agreed. A lot of the “Right” descriptors are written in terms of “Left” axioms. Each side should be written by someone embracing that side. It’s improved, but still evokes a “I’m trying to be fair to the Right side but still hold fundamental disagreements therewith.”

      A “right to education” is held by both, but the manifestation differs. The Left thinks in terms of “here is a particular source of education, anyone may participate in it, everyone contributes to it regardless of participation”. The Right thinks in terms of “you can get education wherever you like, we’ll help ensure anyone can go somewhere, you’re not compelled to contribute to one source when you want to participate elsewhere”.

  • Jon Plummer

    I wouldn’t worry too much about flames from the right; you’re gonna get complaints from them unless your diagram trashes the left.

    • Tim

      I find it interesting that in pre-criticizing the right, you’re doing exactly that which you’re accusing them to do in the future. Their arguments or suggestions, to this point, have been well thought out. And I say that leaning left on most issues, but looking at both sides of the argument so that I can weigh them myself.

  • John

    It’s still biased in some entertaining ways. It’s clear that you wrote the left side of the chart first:Some of the topics adressed do not have analogues because they are not priorities to the same degree on the right as on the left.

    Right off the top, you refer to conservative economic policy as “Don’t Tax and Spend.” By describing their philosophy as “not the other sides” you’re portraying them as antagonistic and unoriginal. I would suggest instead that you describe what they are in favor of rather than what they are against: Small Government. Further by saying de-regulated instead of un-regulated you strangely seem to be pitting the conservatives against the status quo, and are once again reinforcing the position that the Conservatives are simply anti-liberal.

    “Social Progress: Status Quo” is an implicit contradiction since the status quo cannot yield change or progress. You actually have three options in how you could rephrase this:
    1. Society is Benefited Most by: Maintaining the Status Quo
    2. Social Progress: Rediscovery of Historical Values (note that this still holds contradiction, since progress and a return to the past are generally assumed to be antithetical)
    3. Social Progress: Advanced by Individuals (a laissez faire approach to social change which emphasizes bootstraps equality)

    It’s incredibly unfair to characterize the left as practitioners of diplomacy and the right as practitioners of aggression, since diplomacy as a topic includes all methods of exerting influence including aggression. May I suggest instead: Soft Power/Hard Power; these terms reflect the preferences of both sides without characterizing the right as undiplomatic barbarians.

    Somewhat dissapointed that Engineers didn’t make the adult conservative career list.

    • Jim Bales

      John writes:
      “Right off the top, you refer to conservative economic policy as “Don’t Tax and Spend.””

      Here in the US, the conservative economic policy is “borrow and spend”.

      In particular, note that the last time the US had a balanced budget was under Clinton, and note the role of the Bush tax cuts in the massive deficits since 2002.

      So, US conservatives are happy to spend, they just want their children to pay for their binges.

      Jim Bales

  • Eric

    I have to admit, I had to look about three times, until I really noticed the difference between the US-version and the international-version ;)

  • Robert Steele

    The only thing that I will say about national politics is they pass and or vote on bills that will get them re-elected does not matter democrat republican or independent . The one guarantee is they will vote first to save themselves before they will vote to save the USA. Wakeup American public or we will be Greece in ten years.

  • Rory Rohde

    This whole chart reminds me Edwin Abbott’s ‘Flatland’.
    To try and simplify today’s complex political views into two-dimensions would be an exercise in futility, to try and push it down to one as this chart does is ludicrous.
    For example we have the current supposedly ‘leftist’ administration now in office that has expanded foreign wars, cracked down on individual rights, aggressively pursued an anti-drug policy, etc. and except for the Health Care Bill seems pretty much an extension of the awful policies of the previous administration.
    There is even more diversity on the right. There is more disagreement between Gary Johnson or Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee or Rick Santorum than with your average Democrat including President Obama.
    That the MSM continues to view things in these simplistic terms is understandable, but for a website that is supposedly aimed at presenting information more clearly just boggles my mind. I see no value in it.
    I prefer to live in the real world of Spaceland.

    • david

      it’s a map

  • Jason Crawford

    Very interesting perspective; I could say a lot about this. Just one question that fascinates me, though: What (in your mind) is the difference between “ethics” and “morals”? According to your chart, the left bases community on the former; the right on the latter. I think of those terms much more interchangeably; I’m wondering what they mean to you. Thanks.

  • Dave

    The US version, with the Democrat/Republican labels at the top should be mirror images. There’s not nearly as much difference between the two most popular parties in the US. I can’t imagine that anyone believes the federal Democratic platform stands for “diplomacy” or “pacifism”.

  • weaver

    ‘Svery pretty, but it’s got nothing to do with left and right. Left and right refers to one’s position wrt the class war, and as liberals are bourgeouis pro-market types they’re definitely not leftists. To be a leftist you need to be at least a social-democrat (in the Euro sense) and not even New Dealers manage that (the New Deal was designed to save capitalism. Leftists must… crush… capitalism… grrr…). The American confusion over the terms is partly due to decades of McCarthyist hectoring but mostly due to falsely conflating the spurious “Culture War” with the left/right political spectrum. That is, of course, the point of the Culture War: it gives both the right-wing, imperialist, pro-business parties of America’s two-party system something to argue about while leaving even mildly redistributive economic policies completely verboten.

    This is true of most Western democracies, but not to the extreme degree of the US. Both Labour and Tory (however they are named) parties would these days be to the right of centre as even the Labour side has rejected social democracy (never mind socialism) to embrace neo-liberal dogma, sometimes ameliorated with mild regulation and “welfare”. But at the same time many of the members of any given Tory party are to the left of much of the Democratic Party (cf universal healthcare: both parties in RoW polities might prefer in practise to white-ant and underfund their local “socialised” health system, but neither would dream of abolishing it entire; meanwhile in America even a “public option” is off the agenda.) How under these circumstances the Democrats can be sensibly described as left-wing is hard to see.

    Just for the record, this particular leftwing rest-of-the-worlder hails from Australia. I often attempt to explain to Americans why being a leftist puts me on the other side of the political spectrum from liberals (even “small l” liberals – the term we in Oz use to describe ideological liberals rather than those who merely vote for the Liberal Party, our local brand of Tories) but sadly it usually goes in one ear and out the other. Democratic voters are far too psychologically invested in the belief that they couldn’t possibly be on the same side of the political spectrum – even if closer to its centre, perhaps – as those awful, awful Republicans. (Not that “liberal” and “Democratic” are synonymous either.) Getting it right isn’t just language mavenism; there’s unlikely to be any worthwhile political change in the States until Americans realise their media and party political systems have an Overton window eyelash-thin and so far to the right it’s practicallly in Bermuda.

    • Andy

      I think you misunderstood the map – it’s laying out the different positions that the American political parties take. In the US, conservatives call leftists “liberals.” The terms are, for all practical purposes, interchangeable. And all leftists and liberals are presumptive Democrats. Right wingers and conservatives, by contrast, are Republicans. So in the US you have the left and the right.

      That those concepts, as applied in the US, cover but a small fraction of the larger political spectrum out there is not really relevant to the map’s particular purpose.

  • John Johnes

    So a right-winger is a stockbroker who lives in the countryside?

  • nick

    both sides seem about equally misguided.

    we really need a political system that accommodates a plurality of viewpoints rather than the sodden dichotomy with which we’re currently saddled.

  • Carvas

    Very interesting prespective.

    I just don’t agree that the rigt wing cares more for meritocracy than left wing. Almost eveybody believes in meritocracy. Maybe the right wing is a little more strict int he consequences of not beeing able of not beeing able to “win” but, i guess this goes to the “solidarity” field.

  • chris

    Surely the colors should be switched? When has the right identified w/ blue and the left with red?

    • david

      in pretty much every other country in the world, the left is red.

      • John

        Then remove a silhouette of the White House as the main icon – it looks too USA-based with that on it, which is what makes the colors confusing.

        • Edwin

          It is the Capitol Building, plus I hope people can read despite the colors.

    • Gary

      Since when? Up until the election of 2000, there was a weak connection of the left with Red (at least the far left) and blue was just blue. For some reason, all the major networks seemed to choose red for Republicans, blue for Democrats on election night maps. The website followed and the term stuck.

  • Michael Bertolacci

    Proviso: I don’t really identify with the right-wing movement, and I love the idea of this diagram, but the characterization of right-wing parents as ‘Strict Parents’ with a ‘Relationship Built on Respect and Fear’ seems childish. If you’re going to include that sort of sociological generalisation, you need references.

  • Arjun

    I’m not sure if someone has mentioned this, but the colors threw me off, a lot.

    Red is the color typically associated with the republican party, blue is typically associated with the democratic party.

    I was having some serious color/reading issues, like when someone writes the color blue in red and asks you to read the word and not the color. it messes with your head.

    I dunno, maybe its just me.

    • Sophia

      As mentioned previously, the colors assigned to the left or right depends on the country. In the US, blue is connected to the left, but elsewhere, blue is connected to the right.

  • xrt3b

    I find this graphic quite insulting. It presupposes that political beliefs can be neatly packaged into a left/right framework. In my option, this graphic perpetuates the misconception that the only legitimate political debate is between two ideologically opposed entities. Ideology does not necessarily create the divide in governments, there are other factors (ahem, money!).

  • Agnes Topp

    No matter the pros and cons of this diagram, it very interesting and the comments are as well… I’ll have to agree with those that think there should be more difference between the US graphic and the world graphic because the US is so much more to the right of other countries (as a French person living in the US, I would probably be considered fairly to the center politically in France, while people here would probably think i’m borderline communist!.. luckily, I try to avoid political discussions in public)

    In any case, just to add another edit that you might consider if you do a next version of this graph: what about changing the “dove” (some left-wing people can be pretty fierce you know!) vs. “hawk” depiction to a “dog” (social animal) vs. “cat” (independent) one?…

  • Keith

    Why were the fathers removed from the families?

    • Keith

      Oops–I have it backward–they were added, not removed. (I was comparing the two versions on InDesign layers and I guess I got confused.)

      Trying to avoid single-mother imagery?

      • miriam

        Hi Keith,

        Yes – we had complaints that we were conveying the idea that parents = mothers, so it seemed fair.

        Researcher, Information is Beautiful

  • Andrew F.

    I really like what has been created here, but truly, the one word “fear” ruins the whole thing. I am one of those “middle of the road” folks who floats between the two worlds of left and right. While some folks still parent by fear (both left and right), I don’t have a single conservative / right leaning friend who does. That is a relic of the past and does not belong on this chart. Replace “fear” with “love” and you’re much closer to the truth and then you will have an infographic that will be respected and last the test of time.

  • Jim

    I think the US blue=Democrat red=Republican thing stems from the 2000 election, when these colours were used on the maps – before 2000 the colours for the parties alternated at each Presidential election. This is probably due to the fact that the Democrats have never been a workers party in the sense of the social-democratic parties of Western Europe and Australia and NZ, which would have resulted in permanent association with the colour red.

  • NateT

    As a right winger, the only time I try to inspire fear in my kids is when I jump out unexpectedly at them.

    Kudos for trying to be fair, but it is still pretty biased. The question should be how these things should be depicted: as seen from outside or inside the movements in question.

  • Jared

    Astounding. Being able to reduce the vast complexity of all the participants in the vast milieu of ideologies and the nuances between even two primary ideologies down to a single poster.

    Do. Not. Like.

    It is a tremendous disservice to the overall understanding of politics and individual ideologies to pigeonhole people into one of two narrowly defined sides of a debate and, in fact, contributes more strongly to the inherent lack of understanding by participants of the motivations of those in opposition to their perspective.

    The number of posts that speak to differences in nuance just in the refining of the narrowly defined parameters should be a hint that the task is impossible, and, in my opinion, harmful to generating any kind of real understanding between people who self-identify with either side.

  • raverrave

    I think it’s a very good graphic, but it’s very simplistic and I don’t know if in today’s world, the left/right paradigm is really meaningful anymore…

    • Matt

      exactly. These are just collections of cliches that politicians use to pull on the strings of voters. This graphic does nothing to look behind the curtain, it just accepts the lies politicians tell us as truths without question and parrots it back to them. There is no examination of what politicians who supposedly subscribe to “right” or “left” paradigms actually do when they are in office, which is always very different than what they advertise. This graphic is like reprinting the press release for a new product without looking to see if it works yet.

  • Matt
  • Hal

    Should be a real hoot to revamp this after the whole Debt Ceiling debacle and downgrading of the credit rating of the USA.

  • Johnny

    A false dichotomy in graphical form. Having the Capitol over the whole thing is accurate because the false left-right paradigm is created by government to keep us in rigid ideological boxes thus making us easier to control.

  • Oskar Austegard

    I’m sorry, but what did this look like before you “balanced” it? This is about as fair and balanced as Fox News, that is to say, it is not fair and balancd at all. As a result and serves much the same purpose as any other political sniping: alienating moderates and the opposition.

  • Marc

    I think that there are some very biased things against the left too. “tax and spend” is actually something that both sides do plenty of, (although the right likes to pretend that only the left engages in this and has managed to use it a lot in campaigns). But the truth is that both sides like to tax and to spend. And they simply have different priorities for what they would like to spend the money on. And of course, they both see their spending priorities as the “really crucial” ones. The right favors spending on helping certain businesses, subsidizing some things over others, or to spend money on military endeavors and technologies, while the left prefers to spend on social causes.

    And this stuff about the left preferring to interfere with society and social lives vs the right not doing so? Silly. Again, it totally depends on what you are talking about. The left is more willing to pass a seatbelt law or tell people where they can smoke, but the right is more willing to enact laws that support traditional values (like DOMA or laws that ban abortions). But my point is that this is not really a thing that ONLY the left or the right does, it is something that BOTH are fully engaged in; just in ways that support their way of seeing the world…

    The stuff about how they both see the world is pretty good though. I think the part of this that is the most valuable is the part that talks about how people want to raise their children, and perhaps most importantly how both groups tend to see “others”.

  • Scott

    Sorry, I’m calling BS on the right’s “don’t interfere with social lives.” That *may* be true in some libertarian utopian dream, but it isn’t true in today’s politics by any stretch of the imagination. Please fix that!

  • Edwin

    I think it is a good attempt to explain a complicated subject. We like to label ourselves and believe that everything we do represents that label. Clearly the chart doesn’t say that everyone who has a conservative view of government is also a conservative parent, or that someone who has a liberal view of government is a liberal parent. At least they are responding to feedback to make it more accurate, but I highly doubt that they intended this chart to put every person in two categories. The way I see the chart is that there are five broad categories (government, society & culture, family, adult, beliefs) that are generalizations.

  • Andy

    The comments show some pretty consistent complaints. In my experience, American conservatives tend to complain about perceived bias and prejudice against them. Lo and behold the same types of comments appear here.

    Perhaps it would be more effective to try to distinguish the left and right by how they react to perceived injustices. Those on the left tend to invoke the system — that a problem is against the rules, etc. They hold dear this concept that the system as a whole is largely just and fair and that the people they disagree with are therefore outside society’s accepted parameters. Those on the right tend to attack the messenger — that the media is biased, etc. They seem much more likely to see themselves as in the right but surrounded by a corrupt or decayed system. Whereas Democrats see the federal government as the final arbiter, therefore, Republicans are much more likely to dismiss the government as a menacing force. The president becomes a marxist, the press becomes a mouthpiece for liberal elitism, global warming is a hoax perpetrated by power-hungry scientists, etc. There’s an inherent outsider-insider dynamic going on.

  • Gerulf

    If you leave the bias of this poster aside, one can see what is left underneath it: Bad Design.

    The contrast in this graphic is minimal, both the colors and the forms. It’s crammed with content which can hardly be distinguished due to the further lack of contrast in presentation. Since the left/right ‘attributes’ are simply mirrored, comparing the two sides is unnecessarily complicated. The mirroring goes as far as even mirroring the position of illustrational elements and the text.

    And this brings me to the main weakness: The poster’s typography.
    First is the obvious bad mix of the typefaces. Next time they should at least stem from the same class of type! The almost permanent use of fully capitalized words makes it hard to read even the smallest amount of text. By the way: If a word is set only in Capital letters one should do manual kerning to correct the errors. Line-heights and sizes switch to ‘fit’ the layout and a last word on fitting: If elements – especially type – are set in another form like in squares or circles you need to align those elements optically!

    This poster lacks even the most basic design-knowledge in the field of how to efficiently transmit information to the viewer.

    You charge people 32$/22€ (without shipping).
    You should either rethink the price of the product or go and learn how to design.

  • Jules.LT

    Is there any difference between the US and world version, besides the colours?

  • Jules.LT

    This needs a major adjustment to apply to France: replace the “left/right” labels with “center/far right”. And that’s just the start. And I’m pretty sure that most countries have political landscapes even more different from America’s.

    There’s no way to put it nicely: changing the colours and calling it a “world version” is downright ridiculous. Change that title to “Left vs Right in America”, please…

  • Hazumu

    I have a bone to pick with this chart.

    It depicts that the Left will interfere with society and social lives while the Right will not.

    How do you characterise the right’s stance on abortion? On LGBT rights? On matters of sexual behaviour between consenting adults – especially BDSM, group sex, forms of polyamory, and consensual Dominant/submissive or Master/slave partnerships? How do you characterise that in Texas, you can purchase a dildo, but can’t refer to it as a dildo or imply that it will be used to sexually stimulate a body orifice/cavity? – it has to be referred to as a realistic condom demonstrator form, or some such.

    Both the Left and the Right will interfere /not interfere with society/social lives – just in different areas.

  • Dave

    Yes, this chart is overly simplistic at the least.

    Check out the Nolan chart which has stood the test of time, yet still simple-

  • mark dahl

    I find the left/right map rather typical of simplistic, dominant political discourse. it is a bit crude and myopic. For example: ‘equality’ and ‘freedom’ are juxtaposed in the question of “which is better”. The approach to criminality in under critical and/or incomplete on both sides – they are basically generalizations which are based on precluding affirmation of some definition or given concept of what is ‘criminal’ or what is ‘criminality’; do the two sides agree on the premise? what definition are we even working with here?

    there are also general, universalizing terms such as ‘morality’, ‘openness’ and ‘self-defense’ that are arranged and opposed within the diagram in a way that distinguishes little to no certain ethico-political positions.

    Whoever is in power defines their power (unselfconsiously) through their success in circumscribing what it calls (and convinces others to call) ‘politics’, ‘freedom’ etc.

  • Dev

    Relax dudes, it’s an infographic, not a academic paper on the subtle and complex psychological differences of left vs right. People have always and will always encapsulate complex information into simpler frameworks, it’s just how we do. Maybe this infographic doesn’t accurately capture every bit of detail or every diversion from the stereotype, but it does give us some understanding about how people think about themselves and their party. If absolutely nothing else, since politicians tend to play along stereotypical party lines (especially in the US and especially right now), it can act as a position-predictor for pretty much any mainstream liberal dem or conservative rep.