Left-wing v right-wing: it’s complicated — Matthew Smith — YouGov

Abstraction of a diagram showing red and blue boxes signifying left and right

A fascinating study from YouGov around people’s understanding of what is meant by left-wing and right-wing, and what policies people who self-describe as left- and right-wing actually support.

The article sweeps aside the idea that politics is better seen through an additional authoritarian/libertarian axis. Presumably a study for another day.

But from a liberal perspective, and as someone who doesn’t clearly view themselves as either left- or right-wing, this makes interesting reading.

This study shows that the majority of people who:

  • Want a greater redistribution of wealth
  • Think the minimum wage is too low
  • Want to nationalise the railways
  • Want to nationalise utilities


  • Think the criminal justice system is too soft
  • Want tighter restrictions on immigration
  • Support capital punishment
  • Favour powerful government over individual freedoms

It’s almost as if believing the government should have more control over economic activity, and believing the government should have more control over people are… somehow… linked. 🤔

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