politics Gradient In The Wild



Last year, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at Cornell University (the full acronym is longer than this article) selected Gradient, along with fellow research organizations Survey 160 and SSRS, to participate in the 2022 Collaborative Midterm Survey (CMS). It was like winning an Oscar but for nerds who love data and prefer the lab to the spotlight.


The project, which ultimately surveyed 19,000 Americans, promoted innovative sampling and survey methodologies and sought to understand the midterm election results (what “red wave”?). Gradient’s winning Oscar performance methodology relied on a combination of segmentation designed to identify distinct mindsets within the American electorate and a text-based form of sampling and surveying American voters. We sent texts to a smaller subset of the survey’s total voters (don’t worry, we opted not to blow up everyone’s group chat).


To produce mindsets more nuanced than “MURICA!” versus “US SUCKZZ,” we asked nearly 7,000 respondents questions about democratic values and their opinion of American government institutions. Responses ultimately classified people into one of five mindset-based segments. Think of it like the Hogwarts sorting hat, with an additional fifth house for all you Gryffinclaws.

So, are you an Institutional Cheerleader, like 19% of American voters? A Cynical Traditionalist (17%)? Perhaps a Steal Stopper, like 29% of survey-takers? Find out where you fall on the democracy mindsets spectrum by taking this quiz. Please don't cast any revenge spells on us if you end up in the American democratic equivalent of Slytherin!


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