What is Vote Compass?
Vote Compass is an electoral literacy application designed to spark discussion on issues and engage voters in election campaigns.
By indicating your opinions on a series of relevant policy issues, you can compare your politics with those of Quebec's major political parties. It takes just a few minutes.
During last year's federal election, CBC's Vote Compass generated 2 million responses from Canadians — and we're pleased to bring it back, with some new features, for Quebec Votes 2012.
How does it work?
Vote Compass asks your views on a number of relevant political issues, as well as your impressions of the major party leaders and the parties themselves.
When you're done, Vote Compass produces three different results: one indicates where you are on the political landscape compared to the parties; another shows you how much you agree with each of the parties; and the third highlights how you rank the party leaders.
About Vote Compass
- Clifton van der Linden, Executive Director
- Yannick Dufresne, Director of Communications
- Gregory Eady, Director of Analytics
- Jennifer Hove, Director of Research
- Peter Loewen, Director of Operations
- Kelly Hinton, Project Development Officer
- David Houle, Research Associate
Quebec Steering Committee
- François Gélineau, Laval University
- François Pétry, Laval University
- Patrick Fournier, University of Montreal
- Allison Harell, University of Quebec in Montreal
- Éric Montigny, Laval University
Quebec Research Team
- Benoît Colette, Laval University
- Camille Brunelle-Hamann, Laval University
- Rébecca Morency, Laval University
- Guillaume Forest-Allard, Laval University
- Joëlle Steben-Chabot, Laval University
Academic Advisory Board
- André Blais, University of Montreal
- Elisabeth Gidengil, McGill University
- Richard Johnston, University of British Columbia
- Neil Nevitte, University of Toronto
- Jiyin Tu, University of Toronto
- Marie-Paul Rouleau, Editor-in-Chief, Radio-Canada
- Jack Nagler, Managing Editor, CBC Radio News
- Marissa Nelson, Managing Editor, cbcnews.ca
- Debra McLaughlin, Senior Director, Audience Research
- Kristen Hevenor, General Manager
- Vlad Shalamov, System Architect
- Brian Skene, Designer
- Marlon Valenzuela, Lead Developer
- Amy Tilarso, Interactive Developer
- Anthony Cholmondeley, Developer
- Ivan Petrov, IT Manager
- Matthew McKinney, Managing Director, Canadian Web Hosting
- Kings Wong, IT Manager, Canadian Web Hosting
- Alan Chiu, Systems Manager, Canadian Web Hosting
You can also indicate which issues are more important to you than others, then recalculate your position in relation to the parties. Using our new results tools, you can go deeper to see how you compare to the parties on each issue — or how the parties compare to each other. And you can read about the parties' positions on each of the issues included in the questions.
Read the frequently asked questions below to find out more about Vote Compass — or get started.
Frequently asked questions
Who is responsible for Vote Compass?
Does Vote Compass tell me how to vote?
No. Every eligible voter decides for themselves which candidate is most appropriate to represent them. The purpose of Vote Compass is to generate interest in elections and to provide information on party platforms.
According to le Directeur général des élections du Québec, there are currently nineteen registered political parties in the province. Why do only six political parties appear in Vote Compass?
By default, Vote Compass includes those political parties that were represented within a given jurisdiction's elected body at the conclusion of its previous election. If a political party does not satisfy this first condition, it may also be included if it meets all of the following conditions: a) it is registered under the jurisdiction's elections commission, b) it fields a full slate of candidates, and c) it has a fully developed platform.
Why does Vote Compass place me closest to a party other than that which I intend to vote for?
Vote Compass is not intended to predict which party a user intends to vote for in a given election. Some users will find that their Vote Compass results do not match their personal sense of alignment with the political parties. The results are not intended to predict which party a user feels that she or he is most closely aligned with; rather it specifies how the user is aligned with each of the political parties on the basis of the questions included in Vote Compass. There are many factors that can go into vote choice, so it is entirely plausible that a user may prefer a party other than the one s/he is aligned most closely with in the Vote Compass results.
What do I need to use Vote Compass?
For best results, please use one of these supported internet browsers: For Windows PC, Internet Explorer 8 or higher, FireFox 3.6 or higher, or current versions of Chrome; for Mac, Safari 5, FireFox 3.6 or higher or Chrome; and Safari for Ipad and Iphone iOS.
How does Vote Compass determine my results?
See how it works. (pdf)
How does Vote Compass determine the positions of the parties?
Parties are plotted on the Results grid the same way that users are: a party's responses for each question are used to plot it along the social (vertical) or economic (horizontal) scales. Taken together those points give the party its position on the grid. The parties' responses are taken from policy statements, party platforms and other source material. The parties were consulted and asked for their feedback by the academic team throughout the process. See How it Works for details.
Is Vote Compass affiliated with any of the political parties?
No. Vote Compass is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan organization. It seeks to provide Quebecers with an objective, transparent analysis of the political landscape.
Why am I close to a party to whose leader I gave a low rating?
Leader ratings are not included in the calculation of a user’s position in the graph titled "How You Fit in the Political Landscape" or in the graph titled "How Much You Agree with the Parties." Leader ratings are only summarized in the graph titled "How You Rate the Party Leaders," which is also available on the Results page.
Why am I close to a party which I specified that I was unlikely to vote for?
The propensity to vote and election outcome prediction questions in Vote Compass are not used in the calculation of a user’s results. They are for research purposes only.
Why do the graphs show different results?
In some cases, users will appear to be more aligned with one party on the two-dimensional plane and a different party on one or both of the bar graphs. This is a normal and expected result. These three graphs are designed to provide three different ways for users to interpret their results.
The two-dimensional graph measures where users are situated in a general two-dimensional political system. The parties bar graph measures how much you agree with the particular propositions included in the questionnaire. The leaders bar graph measures your overall evaluation of the leaders.
The two-dimensional plane and the parties bar graph use the same responses to measure different things. The bar graph provides an indication of how much a user agrees with each party on the specific propositions addressed in the questionnaire. The two-dimensional plane is an effort to represent the political landscape, or the ideological space in which voters and parties are situated.
The leaders bar graph uses only the responses to the three questions that were asked about the leaders to determine results. The multiple measures reflect the practical reality that a person may agree with certain policies of one party but feel more aligned with the general values of or the leader of another. How an individual reconciles these competing perspectives is entirely up to her or him.
What does the shaded area around my position represent?
In the two-dimensional plane, a user's position is surrounded by a shaded ellipse. This ellipse indicates the range of possible positions a user might occupy in the plane based on her or his responses.
Vote Compass provides users with an estimate of their position in the political ideological space, but the more inconsistent a user's answers are within conventional understandings of left-right and liberal-conservative, the more uncertainty there is in the Vote Compass estimate.
The ellipse is calculated based on the standard deviation of responses on the x and y axes. It indicates the consistency of a user's responses relative to the dimensions. If a user's responses are highly consistent, her or his ellipse (and thus the user's range of possible positions on the plane) will be small.
If responses are less consistent, the standard deviation (and hence the ellipse) becomes larger. The more inconsistent a user's set of responses, the more statistical uncertainty there is when plotting the user in the graphical representation of the political landscape.