World's Smallest Political Quiz

The World's Smallest Political Quiz[1] is a 10-question educational quiz for an American audience designed by the libertarian Advocates for Self Government, created by Marshall Fritz. It associates the quiz-taker with one of five categories: libertarian, left-liberal, centrist, right-conservative, or statist.

According to the Advocates, the quiz was designed primarily to be more accurate than the one-dimensional "left-right" or "liberal-conservative" political spectrum by providing a two-dimensional representation. 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 score 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 for each group and can be zero to one hundred. These two numbers are then plotted on the diamond-shaped chart and the result displays the political group that agrees most with the quiz taker. Having been designed by a libertarian advocacy group many of the questions are, unsurprisingly, leading.


David Nolan in 1996 with a version of the Nolan Chart distributed by Advocates for Self-Government.

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

Nolan introduced his chart by 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 explain libertarian ideas to the public. Fritz found that Nolan's chart was a great help with 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 help a person find their associated place on that graph.

The quiz has also been represented in other forms. During 1993, Brian Towey, with the help of his wife Ingrid, produced a full-color, instant-scoring computer Quiz on disk, for the DOS and Windows operating systems. Programmer Jon Kalb created an equally advanced version for Macintosh computers. Toby Nixon created an ASCII text copy of the Quiz in the era prior to the World Wide Web, and this version was circulated in newsgroups, computer networks, bulletin boards, and on software.[2] During 1995, Paul Schmidt created the Advocates' website, with the current interactive version of the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

As of November 1, 2013, the online World's Smallest Political Quiz has been taken 20 million times since it was first put on the Web in 1995. [3]

Modifications to questions

The ten questions have been modified over time.

Former questions that have been removed
New questions that have been added
Rephrased questions


On 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.[4]

According to e-mails collected by the quiz's advocates, it has been used in 420 schools in the United States.[5] The online content associated with several textbooks is also claimed to feature the Quiz. [6]

See also


External links

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