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The political landscape

This is the political landscape for the 2008 United States presidential elections. A red pencil shows your position in this landscape. The landscape consists of an economic left-right axis and a progressive-traditional axis, concerning people’s attitudes. Based on their positions on all issues, candidates are given a position in the political landscape. You position is based on your responses to the questions.

What can you find here?

  • You can click on the candidate’s picture to view your level of agreement with the candidate. In this window you can also find the documentation of the position of candidates on each proposition. Based on their policy proposals we have positioned the candidates on our propositions. As sources we have used the policy proposals of candidates on their websites, their statements during debates, newspapers and speeches and other campaign material.
  • You can analyse your position in comparison with the candidates in-depth by selecting ‘Issues’ in the right menu.
  • You can select as many themes as you want in order to gain insight in your position in the political landscape with respect to each candidate.
  • You can select ‘Candidates’ in the right column to have a clear overview of the positions of the candidates you are interested in.

Social liberalism versus social conservatism

The social or moral-cultural dimension represents non-economic issues. The social liberal side of this dimension represents a position that favours affirmative action policies, granting special privileges and concessions to (racial) minority groups. Also associated with this liberal position are policies favouring women’s rights (including abortion), issues concerning law and order (such as stricter gun control), the separation of church and state (opposing prayers in schools and the teaching of creationism), environmental protection policies and a more cosmopolitan and multilateral stance on foreign policy issues.

The social conservative position indicates that candidates reject ‘favouritism’ towards minorities, want to uphold traditional family values and feel the need for a more unilateral course in foreign policy (‘patriotism’). Often, conservatives have a more nationalistic outlook in life and value the local community. This conservative position also indicates that candidates favour strict enforcement of law and order by the police and other authorities, they are in favour of religious education, including prayers in school.


Economic left and economic right

The antagonisms between economic left and economic right origin from different opinions between candidates about how to regulate the economy, redistribute wealth and develop the welfare state. Leftist candidates usually want to reduce economic inequality by redistribution of wealth, while rightist candidates usually value economic liberties more. Rightist candidates prefer a less active role of the government in the economy and plead for lowering taxes, privatisation, deregulation, less government spending and a smaller welfare state. Leftist candidates usually stand for an active role of the government in regulating the economy, prefer tax increases for people with higher incomes. With taxation and government control leftist candidates seek to reduce income differences. On an international level this is to be done by development aid.


What is your position?

There are 36 propositions subdivided in twelve issues. Every proposition affects either the economic-left / economic-right axis or the social-liberalism / social-conservatism axis. Your position is determined by your responses to the propositions.

The point of the pencil reflects the exact average of your responses. This is YOUR POSITION in the graph. The ellipse surrounding your position is the standard deviation. The size of the ellipse is an indication of the consistency in your answers. If your answers are very consistent, your ellipse will be small. If your answers are less consistent, the standard deviation - and the ellipse likewise - becomes large.


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