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Vote Compass helps voters decide what party fits them

By in 2011 Federal Election/News

ASHLEIGH MATTERN
Editor-in-Chief

Voting in a federal election can be daunting for first time voters.

The information available about each party is staggering. Most media coverage assumes a certain level of familiarity with the issues that you may not have. Party websites are biased and don’t give a clear picture of what they’re all about.

Where does the first time voter start? This year, voters can start with Vote Compass.

Vote Compass is a quiz of 30 questions and statements about relevant political issues such as defence, economy, environment, government programs, immigration and multiculturalism, moral values, parliamentary reform, Quebec and taxes. Answers come in a range from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree” (with an “I don’t know” option).

Users fill out the quiz — which takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how long they have to think about the questions — and it calculates their position in relation to the Green Party, the NDP, the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the Conservatives.

You can view your position per statement and compare it to each party and see your position on a graph showing your position between social liberalism, social conservatism, the economic left and the economic right.

Vote Compass is basic and easy to use, you can view the information from the quiz you took in a variety of ways, and it’s actually kind of fun.

The Vote Compass website says that their research team used “speeches, manifestos, policy statements and interview transcripts” to determine party positions.

Modelled after Kieskompas, a similar quiz based out of the Netherlands, the selection of statements are based on content analysis, wherein the team determines the importance of issues by how often the parties emphasize them.

A team of academics from the University of Toronto department of political science developed the project.

The tool is not tied to any political parties, though each party was given an advance copy of the survey to approve.

CBC is their exclusive media partner, though both the CBC and Vote Compass emphasize that it is an independent project.

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