Saskatchewan

Vote Compass: Crackdown on offensive social media deemed appropriate

There's broad consensus in Saskatchewan that candidates who have a history of offensive comments on social media deserve to be dropped by their parties.

Many people believe parties should drop candidates over bad Facebook, Twitter posts

NDP leader Cam Broten and his party had an early stumble in the campaign when old social media comments that had been made by four candidates emerged. The party removed the four and nominated new candidates. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

There's broad consensus in Saskatchewan that candidates who have a history of offensive comments on social media deserve to be dropped by their parties.

That's the finding of the latest report from Vote Compass, which is CBC's citizen engagement application.

The report says people were asked about the following statement: "Candidates who have made offensive comments on social media in the past should be dropped by their parties."

Fifty-four per cent of Saskatchewan people agreed with cracking down on candidates who say bad things online. Only 24 per cent disagreed. (Darcy Hunter/CBC)

While 24 per cent said they disagreed with that statement, 56 per cent said they agreed.

The rest were neutral or didn't know.

Support for cracking down on bad social media behaviour was there across the political spectrum.

However, it was strongest among supporters of the Sask. Party — 62 per cent of them said they agreed that removing candidates was the right way to go.

Regardless of the political stripe, most people agreed with the proposition that parties should drop a candidate who has a history of offensive comments. (Darcy Hunter/CBC)

"Individuals who identify as left-leaning are somewhat more tolerant of offensive comments made on social media in the past than are those who identify as belonging to the right, a majority of whom believe that candidates who make such statements should be immediately dropped by their respective parties," said Gregory Kerr, research manager for Vox Pop Labs, which created Vote Compass for CBC. 

Still, Liberal supporters were 59 per cent in favour of punting candidates for past inappropriate statements on Twitter and Facebook. For Green Party supporters, it was 43 per cent.

Perhaps surprisingly, since it was the NDP that got into hot water over the issue in the early days of the election campaign, 48 per cent of New Democrat supporters agreed with a tough stance on social media comments. Only 30 per cent disagreed.   

Individuals who identify as left-leaning are somewhat more tolerant of offensive comments made on social media in the past than are those who identify as belonging to the right. Gregory Kerr ,. Vox Pop Labs

The findings are based on 4,276 respondents who participated in Vote Compass March 15-28.

The online tool lets people find out where they fit in on the political landscape in relation to the Saskatchewan Party, the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and the Green Party.

It also lets the public weigh in on issues that could come up during the campaign. The economy and health care have proven to be the two issues the public cares about the most.

Other reports from Vox Pop Labs asked the public about school prayer, stripping in bars, sharing resource wealth with First Nations and which leaders were their favourite.

Saskatchewan voters go to the polls on April 4.


About Vote Compass

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 4,276 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from March 15 to March 28, 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 Saskatchewan according to census data and other population estimates.

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