david By: david

Left vs Right: A view of the political Spectrum

A concept-map exploring the Left vs Right political spectrum. A collaboration between David McCandless and information artist Stefanie Posavec, taken from my book The Visual Miscellaneum (out Nov 10th).




From my book The Visual Miscellaeum (HarperCollins, Nov 2009)





Find out more here:

: www.informationisbeautiful.net/2009/left-vs-right/

: www.itsbeenreal.co.uk


Order a limited edition, signed poster of this image here: www.informationisbeautiful.net/store





  • Cera 6y

    elegant illustration, will definitely check out the book
  • Matthew Lee 6y

    Flipped through the book yesterday at Borders. Thrilled to find your work online. Well done!
  • Cynder Gray 6y

    This infographic is really well developed. I found it interesting that from a United States perspective looking at the red liberal was hard due to conditioning. Minor quibbles about jobs and some over broad categorization but I think it captures the spirit of the differences very well.
  • Andrew Robinson 5y

    Overly simplified, and generic. I'd like to understand the data behind this information graphic to better understand why you made the decisions you did. This just feels like an information graphic that is repeating thin media mythologies and propaganda about both the left and the right. It would be more interesting to actually use information design to convey some meaningful information about the actual ideological and social inclination of the American voter rather than the sterotypes of what left and right are supposedly standing for. For example one stereo type is that the Right is considered a hawk on war, and the Left is considered a dove. And yet a Democrat got the us in to World War II and Vietnam and Kosovo, etc... so both parties are a bit hawkish.
    In the end I like your design I just question the simplistic story is conveys.
  • ICOBA 5y

    @ acrstudio

    Would your opinion differ if you knew the piece was in reference to the left/right political configuration of the UK and not America?
  • Andrew Robinson 5y

    Hmmm, no I don't think my opinion would change mainly because the ethos of the differences contrasted in the design are so similar in both countries. In fact the hawkish actions of the Labor gov't in the run up to the Iraq war reinforce my point, that the design assumes Left (Labor) is a dove, and the Right (Torries) are Hawkish. But in fact both when in power are hawkish. (see Thatcher.... et al)
    It's a nice looking design but misleading on its substance.
  • JasonHamiltonKrinsky 5y

    Atleast we can all agree on unmarried sex! :P lol great work..
  • la renata 5y

    well done, i think it's quite accurate, then well, how people develop those ideals and the way they try to bring people to their causes's another story... i guess. I live in uruguay and i don't know details about uk's or usa's politics really, but this concept map is quite right about what i see in my country, without being judgemental about what is good and what is not.
  • sansanbel 5y

    Well done, it is perfect =)
  • georgiejarmancarr 4y

    This is beautifully drawn.
    It's slightly ironic that the illustrator paints the left quite positively as though he associates himself with it, yet the very action of the diagram - dividing, generalising, judging, clarifying difference and 'otherness', generally drawing out the battle lines - are all quite negative things that he would probably associate with the 'reds'.
    The statistics amongst the judgements are revealing though.
  • false-dichotomy 4y

    Personally, I think this is fundamentally flawed.

    Take for instance the beliefs of the two parties:
    the left is supposedly scientific, whilst the right theistic: immediately it is setting up a dipole which does not exist. Most theists in the UK are scientific AND Christian.

    Again, on the basis of theism (Christian) whose most fundamental teaching is: "Love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind AND love your neighbour as yourself." So, how do you square that with an Exclusive view of society and culture?
    Again, where does the left-right distinction in parenting types come from? What the left is somehow nurturing and loving whilst the right is cold and authoritarian... that is plainly ridiculous.
    Also take the whole parenting thing again: relationships built on fear and trust Vs love and nurture! Come ON the left has been slowly squeezing the family for decades, promoting single parent families and undermining parental responsibility... how can that be loving and nurturing? Then left wing children are supposedly self-nurturing whilst the right independent... my goodness this flies in the face of ALL the facts! It has been the left's insidious drive to force both parents in to work and leave their children with strangers against the cries of the right to respect the family! It is well proven that children, babies, who attend nursery from young ages are more independent and less secure, less happy and more prone to depression and anxiety - ALL the product of Labour's policies to force parents into the workforce.

    Simply put, this picture is a blatant piece of prejudicial reporting and better reflects the creator's bias and preconceptions than reality.
  • fafsabs 4y

    Leans a little left. With some honest critique & tweaking, this could be a awesome piece.
  • nasato_pikapi 3y

    Some will think that this fits US politics, but as some people talking, this image isn't correct. There's the left hawks and right wingers do interfere with society. Hawks are the kind of strict sense of justice who want to compel the others what they believe.

    Developing countries politics often becomes the fight between two radical hawks and they are simply thinking they won't be lefty being far-right, or won't be righty being far-left. Because the hawks think left=not-right, right=not-left. But actually these two right and left are completely the same thing in the different axis. And there's also common part in right and left policies. Drawing policies and ideologies in dualistic one dimension lead to the mistake. Ideologies are more complicated than three dimensional graph. Real liberalism and democracy is different from both right and left in the old days. Developed countries liberal and conservative politics are actually not the fight between old left and right. It should be mature individual vs right&left.
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Uploaded on October 20, 2009
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