We realize that “conservative” and “liberal” mean very different things in different countries. For this survey, the definitions being used are based on the way these terms are understood in the USA.

Economic conservativism is the belief that citizens should keep more of the money they earn, meaning lower taxes and smaller government providing only the most basic of services, with its citizenry and marketplace taking care of the rest, which also means less government regulation on business. In other words, fiscal conservatives believe in a lack of government intervention in the economic realm where free-market principles rule the day. Social conservatism, on the other hand, is the flip side: a social conservative believes in government intervention in the social or moral realm - that certain acts or behaviors must be regulated by government to assure a moral society.

An economic liberal believes that government is obligated - to varying levels - of assuring an economic safety net and assuring that business is a good "citizen," that government is obligated to provide for more than the physical safety of a person and his belongings. In other words, fiscal liberals believe in government intervention in the economic realm because free-market principles will not suffice, will not provide all citizens with a basic level of economic safety. A social liberal, on the other hand, believes that government is obligated to stay out of social and moral issues - that an individual has a right to privacy over their body and how they conduct their lives .