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World's Smallest Political Quiz

The World's Smallest Political Quiz[1] is a 10-question quiz designed as an outreach and educational tool by the libertarian Advocates for Self Government, created by Marshall Fritz. It places the quiz-taker into one of five categories: Libertarian, Left-Liberal, Centrist, Right-Conservative, or Statist.

According to the Advocates, the quiz was primarily designed to be more accurate than the one-dimensional "left-right" or "liberal-conservative" political spectrum by providing a two-dimensional view. The Quiz is composed of two parts: a diagram of a political map; and a series of 10 short questions designed to help viewers quickly place themselves and others on that map.

The 10 questions are divided into two groups, Economic and Personal, of five questions each. The answers to the questions can be Agree, Maybe, or Disagree. Twenty points are given for an Agree, ten points for a Maybe, and zero for Disagree. The scores are added up for each group and can be zero to one hundred. These two numbers are then plotted on the diamond chart and the result shows the political group that agrees most with the quiz taker.



The chart that is the centerpiece of the Quiz is based on a chart devised in 1969 by libertarian political scientist David Nolan. Nolan reasoned that virtually all human political action can be divided into two broad categories: economic and personal. In order to visually express this insight, Nolan came up with a two axis graph. One axis was for economic freedom, and the other was for personal freedom.

Nolan introduced his chart in an article entitled "Classifying and Analyzing Politico-Economic Systems" published in the January 1971 issue of The Individualist, a libertarian newsletter.

In 1985, Marshall Fritz founded the Advocates for Self Government. Part of the Advocates' mission was to introduce and explain libertarian ideas to the public. Fritz found that Nolan's chart was a great help in explaining how libertarianism was distinct from conservatism and liberalism.

The first form the Quiz took was as a business card, with the ten questions printed on it along with the chart. As of August 2004, over 7 million Quizzes had been printed. The Quiz, then, is a combination of two elements: Nolan's chart, and Fritz's idea of ten short questions to quickly and easily help a person find their place on that graph.

The quiz has also been put into other forms. In 1993, Brian Towey, with the help of his wife Ingrid, produced a full-color, instant-scoring computer Quiz on disk, for DOS and Windows. Programmer Jon Kalb created an equally advanced version for Macs. Toby Nixon created an ASCII text copy of the Quiz in the pre-Web days, and this version was circulated in newsgroups, computer networks, bulletin boards, and on software. In 1995, Paul Schmidt created the Advocates' web site, the centerpiece of which was, and remains, the current interactive version of the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

Modifications to questions

The ten questions have been modified over time.

Former questions that have been removed
  • Let peaceful people cross borders freely.
  • Minimum wage laws cause unemployment. Repeal them.
  • All foreign aid should be privately funded.
New questions that have been added
  • There should be no National ID card.
  • Let people control their own retirement; privatize Social Security.
  • Replace government welfare with private charity.
Rephrased questions
  • People are better off with free trade than with tariffs. -> End government barriers to international free trade.
  • End taxes. Pay for services with user fees. -> Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more.
  • Businesses and farms should operate without government subsidies. -> End "corporate welfare." No government handouts to business.


In August 23, 2000, Portrait of America conducted a national telephone survey of 822 likely voters. Using the same questions and scale, the survey found 32% of American voters are centrists; 16% are libertarians; 14% are authoritarians; 13% liberal; 7% are conservative; and, 17% border one or more categories. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.[2]

According to e-mails collected by the quiz's advocates, it has been used in 420 schools in the United States.[3] The online content associated with several textbooks is also claimed to feature the Quiz. [4]


Critics say the quiz is inaccurate due to the small number of questions, and that the questions are phrased in such a way as to encourage an "agree" response, scoring people as libertarian when they are not. Answering "agree" on all responses results in being placed at the height of the libertarian corner, along with anarchists and minarchists.[5][6][7]

See also


External links



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