What do the sliders mean?

Sorry for the really stupid question, but what do the sliders mean on the page where you choose your party? I assumed it was intensity of public opinion but it didn’t affect the game in a way I expected it to…

Stupid answers on a postcard please!!

Quite simply, they do what they say. The sliders with demographics (Environmentalist, Patriot, Religious, Socialist) determine what percentage of the population is a member of that group. If you know you’re going to make pro-environmentalist policies, then starting the game with more environmentalists makes it easier for you. However, this could be considered a form of cheating. These are set in a realistic fashion: The United States doesn’t have a lot of socialists so when you start this group should have low membership.

The other sliders change statistics. Unemployment, Oil Supply, and Car Usage will change depending on how the sliders are set. These statistics then influence the situations the game starts with: Low unemployment means you are less likely to start out with the “Homeless” situation. Car Usage and Unemployment can be changed greatly through policies, but Oil Supply is difficult to change. It will lower due to some events, and can be increased via a dilemma. Oil Supply together with Oil Demand, which can be affected by policies and is affected by Car Usage among other things, make for the Oil Price. A low Oil Price has a positive effect on your GDP, and a good GDP has great effects on many areas. Starting with a high Oil Supply makes for an easier game, economically.

Military Spending is the military spending you start out with. Because you almost always start out with a budget deficit, this slider determines how much you’ll be able to set the military slider. More spending at the start won’t necessarily mean a higher budget deficit, so it is easier for you to maintain a large military if you start the game with the “Military Spending” slider set highly.

That’s my understanding of it.