CBC’s Vote Compass Tells You Whose Views are Most Like Yours

As you might already know by now, a federal election is coming up this May 2, 2011. On March 25, the three opposition parties have defeated Stephen Harper’s minority government, effectively clearing the way for a spring federal election.

This election is an opportunity to get your voice heard and to tell politicians what matters most to you. But with the media usually reducing issues into soundbites, it can be hard to figure out what each political party really stands for. Plus, with our busy schedules as students, it’s really hard to keep track of who is saying what.

Enter CBC’s Vote Compass, “a free online application that provides users with a sense of how their opinions square with the platforms of the political parties running in the 2011 Canadian federal election”. If that’s a lot of mumbo jumbo for you, what it is really is an online tool available on CBC’s website designed to tell you which of the political parties have views that are most similar to yours.

CBC's Vote Compass

I tried the tool myself, and I thought that it was an easy tool to use.  After answering several questions about several key issues (such as Canada’s role in Afghanistan, abortion right and gay marriage), Vote Compass tells you which party most aligns with yours and which is furthest.

Is it an accurate tool though? The results provided by Vote Compass were in line with what I expected, so I’m inclined to say that yes, it is pretty accurate.

With that said, some critics, including some political science professors, have charged that Vote Compass is flawed. My recommendation is to use the tool in addition to other methods. The reality is that a tool like this can almost never be 100% accurate. Politics is much more complex, and no testing tool can accurately tell you who you should vote for.  I like that the CBC is using online tools though to try to generate excitement for this election. With declining election participation these past few years — and with experts expecting low voter turnout this spring — anything that will engage the youth is a good thing.

I encourage you to try Vote Compass yourself and then try to research the different parties running in your riding.

Have you used Vote Compass yet? What do you think of it? Let us know through the comments section.

By Kelvin Claveria