Vote Compass results show party divides on gay rights, abortion

New results from CBC Manitoba's interactive election tool Vote Compass show Manitobans diverge along party lines when asked about issues relating to gay rights and women's rights.

New Vote Compass results look at where Manitobans stand on moral issues

New Vote Compass results reveal divides along party lines in Manitoba on some moral issues. (Canadian Press)

New results from CBC Manitoba's interactive election tool Vote Compass show Manitobans diverge along party lines when asked about issues relating to gay rights and women's rights.

Sixty-one per cent of NDP supporters say abortion services should be more widely available in Manitoba compared to only 29 per cent of Progressive Conservative voters.

The findings are based on 8,635 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from March 15 to March 31, 2016.

"That's not surprising, historically the NDP has been much more in support of abortion … compared to the Progressive Conservatives," said political analyst Christopher Adams.

Overall most Manitobans are satisfied with the availability of abortion services or would like to see access improved, according to the Vote Compass results.

Adams said that may be one reason the PCs have not attempted to make abortion an election issue —discussing abortion access could alienate, for example, fiscal conservatives who lean progressive on social issues.

"There are those … who believe in the type of platform that the PCs have but don't necessarily support the socially conservative issues," said Adams.

"That's why, quite frankly, Brian Pallister stays away from this issue."

Adams cautions reading too much into the results because it's possible many Manitobans do not know how available abortion already is in the province.

On the issue of gay-straight alliances in schools there appeared to be similar division on the issue between right- and left-wing voters.

The Vote Compass results show that 77 per cent of NDP supporters believe schools should be required to allow gay-straight alliances whereas only 35 per cent of Progressive Conservatives support the idea.

"There is a division and partly that's because the NDP has been fairly open in terms of supporting the rights of young gay people," said Adams.

In 2013, the NDP passed Bill 18, a controversial anti-bullying legislation that requires schools to accommodate students who want to start gay-straight alliances.

Though a lesser proportion than the NDP, the majority of Liberal and Green supporters also supported requiring schools to allow gay-straight alliances.

Across the board, the majority of all Manitobans, regardless of party affiliation, believe the controversial practice of conversion therapy, or attempting to convert homosexuals into heterosexuals, should be banned.

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in Canada exclusively by CBC News. The findings are based on 8,635 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from March 15 to March 31, 2016. Unlike online opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not pre-selected. Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. Vote Compass data have been weighted by geography, gender, age, educational attainment, occupation and religion to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the actual population of Manitoba according to census data and other population estimates.

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