Oct 012010

[The following is a guest post by Maelstrom from The Political Pagan. Maelstrom teaches at a small college in New York State. Prior to this, he studied in Iceland and taught at colleges in Japan and Eastern Europe. As a scholar, supporter and participant in modern-day Paganism, by which he mean forms of religion derived from native European religions, Maelstrom is interested to see what can come from applying Pagan perspectives to political issues, and political perspectives to our Paganism.]

Hello all. As part of a research project on the political views of Norse Pagans (=Heathens, Asatru members, Asatruar) in the USA. I have devised a poll on the topic for members of this Pagan community. However, after thinking more, I realized it would be useful to also ask members of non-Asatru, non-Norse Pagan groups, about their political perspectives. My hope is to be able to contrast the political profile of Asatru members with other Pagans. At this stage, I am only seeking responses from Pagans in the USA, but this could extend to other countries in the future. The survey is rather crude, only ten questions, but it is designed to at least highlight some broad-brush differences between right-wing and left-wing, conservative and liberal positions. I encourage you to participate either in the Asatru poll, if you are involved with Norse Paganism, or the non-Asatru poll, if you are Wiccan, Goddess-worshipping, Celtic, Hellenic, or other types of Pagan.

Note: these surveys are for USA citizens and residents only. I hope to develop versions for other countries in future, but at this point, USA only.

All responses are anonymous. Neither I nor anyone else will know who you are if you answer this survey. No such information is collected. The system is however designed to allow each person to respond to the survey only one time. You can change your answers up to the point where you exit, but once you do exit the survey, you cannot go back and change answers.

Here is the link for the Asatru survey:
Click here to take survey

Here is the link for the non-Asatru survey:
Click here to take survey

I will discuss results at a future date.

  18 Responses to “Guest Post: Survey on Political Views of Pagans”

  1. I think you need more options on your test. I respect the military, but I don’t necessarily trust it all the time…

    • indeed – a lot of the choices were a bit too binary for my liking, with no ‘scale of 1-10′ choices available. Granted it makes the analyst’s job easier, but loses a lot in translation. Also, I sincerely doubt that you can get a good representation that actually means anything out of so few questions.

      • I was thinking that too – that it was cut and dry and extremely brief, especially when concerning two touchy subjects – religion and politics! At first glance, I thought the bottom button was a NEXT button, thinking the survey was spread out more.

    • I agree. While I appreciate the existence of such a survey, I think it is written in such a way that it may end up obscuring some of the nuance of opinion that exists in Heathenry and (as I see that the questions on the non-Asatru survey are identical) among Pagans at large. Also, it would be interesting to see the data split up in different ways: not just Heathens and Pagans, but also Reconstructionists and Eclectics, or Wiccans and non-Wiccans.

    • Agreed!

    • Just want to add my own agreement about the extremely narrow choice for answers. 95% of the questions do not genuinely have the simple black/ white, yes/no answers that were provided. Even the “no opinion” option on many of the questions had and obvious built in bias with the inclusion of the phrase “it’s a phony problem.” It’s possible to have no opinion without automatically thinking the problem in question is “phony.”

  2. I wish you had the option of undecided or no political group affiliation. I wish you were more specific on the question about helping society. What is meant by that exactly? Helping create housing? Providing welfare and food stamps? Creating jobs? Providing health insurance? Not everyone would agree that the government should do all these things. As far as the military, I don’t think it needs to be smaller but the military involved in less wars.

  3. I, too, found the survey rather crude in its lack of nuance. There were a number of questions where I wanted to answer “none of the above” or something similar. Thing about Heathens (and most pagans I know too) is that most of us, no matter how far to the left or right our ideology might take us, still have a very nuanced view of things, and are most likely to answer “it depends on the situation” for a lot of the questions. I’d like to see something a bit more reflective of how we think. (I did answer the Asatru survey; I was just… disappointed.)

  4. I took the survey, but found it to be very … unnuanced. I think a sliding scale of one to ten for the answers, as well as a section for “Additional Comments,” would have provided a much clearer and more precise understanding. Additionally, the survey seems to assume that (non-Asatru) Pagans belong to clearly-defined groups with specific stands on social and political issues. This is most definitely *not* the case.

    • Props – sliding scale choices are a nice compromise between allowing for nuance and not getting bogged down in detail – and additional comments solves anything the scale doesn’t. If you find that you have too much additional comment detail to sift through to get a concise, reportable result, it means you need to redo the survey!

  5. This is a good start but it needs expanding. I found #3 particularly frustrating. I love the military but I oppose how it is being used.

  6. I agree that this poll was lacking in a lot of ways. For instance, my political beliefs are very different than most of my Pagan friends. At the same time, even my religious beliefs are different from theirs. I would have preferred to speak for myself as an individual than as any representative for a group.

  7. Agree with the survey’s response choices being way too limited and very polarized. Also agree that it would be better to respond as individuals than to attempt to answer for others.

  8. I couldn’t finish the poll either, as there weren’t any answers I could honestly check. Also, having two different things in one question (respect vs trust for instance) makes it harder to give a single answer.

  9. I’ll be very interested in the rates at which we affirmed (or didn’t) the importance of compassion as a value. It is odd to me to find that value attacked in the Pagan community, but I have seen it as under attack recently. I’d like to know if that’s a vocal minority or something approaching a significant portion of our community (Asatru or otherwise) that have this reservation about compassion as “too Christian,” as I’ve heard it called.

    Fingers crossed for a large enough response and wide enough cross-section of the community to be statistically meaningful!

  10. [...] survey joins the political surveys by Maelstrom from The Political Pagan, and the Pagan Health Survey conducted by Kimberly Hedrick [...]

  11. I found the survey to be very one sided. You frame the questions as black/white when these discussions are too nuanced for that. I feel your data set will reflect what you want it too rather then the actuality of things because of they way your questions are written. If you don’t want to change the questions (which I think you should to have any kind of scientific validity) you should at least add an “other” box so people can explain their answers. By simply giving the generic “conservative” and “liberal” or “N/A” answers you limit your ability to understand what peoples beliefs are and why (the true goal of an anthropological pursuit like this) and instead come up with a data set that reflects many peoples preconceived notions of what a follower of Astru believes.
    This bugs me even more with the Neo-Nazi questions because they seem to be set up so that you fall into the “you’re a racist”, “you’re a closet racist” or “you a pansy liberal who hates the first amendment” groups. These questions need to be asked with a great deal more tact, options, and open mindedness. It is only then that people will be willing to say what they truly believe and where you can understand their answer on a much deeper level.
    Lastly, it threw me off that you have separate surveys for followers and non-followers. Do they ask the exact same questions? If not, your comparative data is useless. If so why not just rewrite the survey so that people are allowed to check or write what they practice? When you ask that question you can more easily and throughly compare what the Pagans and Heathens believe. Even more so you can compare what different branches of the Pagan or Heathen trees believe.
    Overall, I really believe that this survey must be rewritten to gain any truly scientific data from it. You’re questions are framed, biased, and too narrow. You’re not allowing for a nuanced or even accurate response. And you’re not allowing people to describe their beliefs. I feel this area of questioning could garnish surprising and insightful responses by both communities if the topic was approached in a more scientific way.

  12. I was going to take this survey, but quite frankly the questions are–as others have pointed out–far too narrow and IMO a veiled attempt to shoehorn Heathens into the NNFH (NeoNaziF***Head) category.

    So…no. Perhaps the author should go piss off a heathen mailing list or two (again).