Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Politics
  3. Government

The Pew Research Political Typology Quiz Is Completely Bogus

See also

Disclaimer: There will be math.

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released the results of a poll late last week. These results were used by the organization to categorize the American public into one of eight different ideological groups: Solid Liberals, Faith & Family Left, Next Generation Left, Hard-Pressed Skeptics, Young Outsiders, Business Conservatives, Steadfast Conservatives, and Bystanders. (The "Bystanders" group doesn't really count in this analysis since they are by definition non-voters.)

You may take the quiz for yourself here. Once someone takes the quiz, they are directed to a results page. This page provides the poll's breakdown of the American electorate:

Solid Liberals - 15 percent of the electorate. 89% voted for Obama in 2012, 3% for Romney.

Faith & Family Left - 15 percent of the electorate. 69% voted for Obama in 2012, 19% for Romney.

Next Generation Left - 12 percent of the electorate. 66% voted for Obama in 2012, 25% for Romney.

Hard-Pressed Skeptics - 13 percent of the electorate. 62% voted for Obama in 2012, 23% for Romney.

Young Outsiders - 13 percent of the electorate. 37% voted for Obama in 2012, 48% for Romney.

Business Conservatives - 10 percent of the electorate. 9% voted for Obama in 2012, 81% for Romney.

Steadfast Conservatives - 12 percent of the electorate. 5% voted for Obama in 2012, 85% for Romney.

Bystanders - 10 percent of the electorate. 0% voted for Obama in 2012, 0% for Romney (this group doesn't/can't vote).

A closer examination of these numbers reveals that they do not at all resemble the actual American voting public:

Solid Lib: 15 percent of voters – 3 % voted for Romney = 0.45 % total vote for Romney.

F & F Left: 15 percent of voters – 19 % voted for Romney = 2.85 % total vote for Romney.

Next Gen Left: 12 percent of voters – 25 % voted for Romney = 3.0 % total vote for Romney.

Skept: 13 percent of voters – 23 % voted for Romney = 2.99 % total vote for Romney.

Young Out: 13 percent of voters – 48 % voted for Romney = 6.24 % total vote for Romney.

Biz Con: 10 percent of voters – 81 % voted for Romney = 8.1 % total vote for Romney.

Stead Con: 12 percent of voters – 85 % voted for Romney = 10.2 % total vote for Romney.

Bystand: 10 percent of voters – 0 % voted for Romney = 0.0 % total vote for Romney.

Total Result - Romney gets 33.83 % of the vote.

Solid Lib – 15 percent – 89 for Obama = 13.35 % total vote for Obama.

F & F Left – 15 percent – 69 for Obama = 10.35 % total vote for Obama.

Next Gen Left – 12 percent – 66 for Obama = 7.92 % total vote for Obama.

Skept – 13 percent – 62 for Obama = 8.06 % total vote for Obama.

Young Out – 13 percent – 37 for Obama = 4.81 % total vote for Obama.

Biz Con – 10 percent – 9 for Obama = 0.9 % total vote for Obama.

Stead Con – 12 percent – 5 for Obama = 0.6 % total vote for Obama.

Bystand – 10 percent – 0 for Obama = 0.0 % total vote for Obama.

Total Result – Obama gets 45.99 % of the vote.

If one is to take the results of this poll seriously, then it follows that Obama defeated Romney by a 46-34 margin in the popular vote. The actual results of the 2012 presidential election - Obama 51%, Romney 47%. So this poll undercounts Obama's actual support by five percent, while undercounting Romney's actual support by 13 percent.

In other words: Garbage in, garbage out.

Advertisement