2020 will be here before we know it, and we know it is quickly approaching based on how many individuals have already thrown their candidate hats in the Presidential ring. There’s no doubt more will be joining them in the near future, and choosing who to vote for in primaries and in the general election could get overwhelming. Fortunately, the quiz “I Side With” is here to help.

This site began in March 2012 and has been evolving with each election year. They have even expanded to cover races in Australia, Canada, the UK, Spain, and India. The most popular is obviously the U.S. presidential election candidate matching, but you can also be matched with state and local candidates. The site is constantly being updated, and will add more Presidential hopefuls as they enter the race. Through its existence, the site has stayed pretty unbiased and is trusted by both sides of the aisle to reach accurate results. It prides itself on having no affiliations with candidates, political parties, corporate sponsors, investors, or interest groups. The only critique for this site I have seen is that it elevates third party candidates by gifting them with more visibility and recognition than they usually receive, but I would argue this isn’t a negative thing when striving for fairness in who each person is really matching with.

Matches are calculated based on candidate’s official stances on issues, the length of time the stance has been held, or how often they talk about core issues, increasing the candidates “passion rating” for each subject or question. For instance, the more President Trump mentions the border wall in his speeches or rallys, the higher that subject’s level of importance will be. The developers of the site are constantly analyzing new or flipped stances, speeches, and who could be entering a race. The quiz questions also get updated periodically.

Taking this quiz could take you anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how extensive you choose to make it. Each category starts with 2-4 questions, and at the bottom of each section will be an option to “Answer more questions”. Loading and answering more questions will give you more accurate results by further refining your views on dozens of different issues currently facing our country. Another way to ensure more accurate results is by answering each question with a more personalized answer than just “yes” or “no”. This quiz gives us the option to choose from several stances on each question by clicking the “other stances” option. For instance, in response to the question, “What is your stance on abortion”, the “other stances” options include:

  • Pro-life, and I also oppose abortion for victims of rape and incest

  • Pro-life, but allow in cases of rape, incest, or danger to the mother or child

  • Pro-choice, but ban after the first three months

  • I don’t agree but the government has no right to ban it, but pro-choice

  • Pro-choice, and providing birth control, sex education, and more social services will help reduce the number of abortions

There are also options to “read more stances submitted by users” and “add your own stance”. While this will not be counted toward your results, each submitted answer is reviewed by the developers and trends will be added to the official quiz. Lastly, at the bottom of every question is the importance bar. Rate how important this stance or issue is to you, and further accuracy is guaranteed. Do these three things to optimize your quiz and you are sure to receive authentic results.

This quiz does a great job of covering a wide range of topics in each of its issue categories: National Security, Social, Environment, Economy, Domestic Policy, Healthcare, Education, Foreign Policy, Crime, Elections, Transportation, Immigration and Science. Questions can range from Common Core to LGBTQ rights, from pipelines to the national debt, from the 2nd Amendment to Medicare For All. There is even a question at the end asking you to check off which qualities are important to you in a candidate with choices like Patriotism, Effectiveness, Communication and Honesty. For any questions you are not particularly well-versed in or would like a refresher on, there are links labeled “Learn More”, “Discuss”, “Stats” and “News” under each question. These will give you an overview of the issue and describe what proponents and opponents say about the issue, along with letting you view the latest news and stats on this issue without interrupting your quiz. Like I mentioned above, these questions do get updated from time to time to stay relevant, but all 100 total questions are thought-provoking and well-worded.

When your quiz is finished and you press “Show My Results”, you will be shown a list of candidates with whom you match in order of matching percentage. You can also click on the “Political Parties” tab at the top of this page to show you which party you most align with. Scrolling down, you can see a list of the questions you answered and where each candidate stands on that issue. Scrolling down further from there, you can see political themes and topics, and where you land in relation to the candidates. Towards the bottom is a list of the qualities voters deem are important when choosing who to vote for and how each candidate is rated. And finally, at the bottom of the page, you are shown ideologies, or where you fall on the traditional ideological axis compared to all candidates.

I take this quiz about once a year, and it’s fun and interesting to see who my views match up with compared to how I actually vote. If you’re interested in casting your vote based on policy and not just blind political party affiliation, the I Side With quiz is for you.

Emilie N
Emilie is an FFL Cabinet Member from the upper Midwest. She loves her mama, loves Jesus, and America, too. When she's not cheering on the Minnesota Vikings or obsessing over the Olympics, you can find her watching Friends or petting a dog.

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