Saturday, March 26, 2011

VoteCompass: A fabulous site to help understand your political position vs the parties

I was very impressed with the VoteCompass web site created by two universities and the CBC.

I recommend it to all Canadian voters. You enter your opinion about three questions in each of ten major areas (Defense, Economy, Environment, Government Programs, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Law and Order, Moral Values, Parliamentary Reform, Quebec an Taxes). Then you can see how your overall position aligns with that of the five main parties. You can also look at how your position on each of the 30 statements aligns with the parties. If everybody based their vote on this site (plus educated reading about the issues) rather than attack ads and ridiculous rhetoric we might all be better off.

Using the site, it was striking to see how the Conservative party has positions so diametrically opposed to the other parties, and to my opinion, on so many issues.

Despite what I said on my blog yesterday, the site suggests that my overall positions are closer to those of the Liberal party than the Greens. However, if I perform an analysis with certain areas of less concern to me not counted, and areas of greatest concern highlighted (such as the environment, parliamentary reform, etc.) then the site shows me closest to the Greens (see Figure 1 below). However if I include 'Economy' my position moves further 'right'. Figure 2 shows my overall position with all categories counted equally. In the system, the Greens are shown as farthest left economically. I am not sure I agree with this assessment.

Figure 1: My position relative to the parties with my positions on Defense, Environment, Government, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Moral values and Parliamentary Reform counted.

Figure 2: My position with all issues considered equally. Note that I disagree that the Greens are shown being so far economically left.

Regarding usability: As I indicated above, there is an option to do the analysis after indicating that some of the 10 areas are important, or not. It would have been better if, instead of being forced to make binary choices, we could have specified varying degrees of importance for this analysis. Also, I would have loved to be able to print out my entire set of responses and all the analysis.

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