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CBC’s Vote Compass Methodology

April 24th, 2011 · andrea

LISPOP associate issues methodological comment on CBC’s Vote Compass. Click here for access to paper.

Abstract: This methodological note advances two arguments. First, random error in the measure of the two underlying dimensions in the Vote Compass is converted through the process of averaging into systematic error in the measure of a user’s position relative to the political parties on the two-dimensional plane. This argument can be demonstrated via simulation. The second argument is that the two-dimensional Vote Compass graphic is likely to “misclassify” many users in terms of their actual proximity to political parties on the questions that the Vote Compass asks about. By “misclassify” I mean that the two-dimensional graphic generated by the Vote Compass indicates to some users that they are “closest” to one political party when in fact there was some other political party with which these users agreed more often and more closely on the issues that the Vote Compass asked about. The possibility persists whether the users answer the questions randomly, ideologically, or some combination of both. My substantive conclusion is that the Vote Compass’ two-dimensional graphic is misleading for many users.

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 M Townshend // May 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I believe that the Compass Poll accurately reflects the “True” party policies, and correctly portrays the Conservative party in it’s present form as an ultra tight of center party. This is an accurate depiction of the roots of the present day party and is in part why the majority of Canadians would not trust Mr. Harper with a Majority.

    I found the results quite enlightening and provided support to my beliefs of which party I should support.

    I see this as becoming a tool of the future as it has become in other jurisdictions.

  • 2 Kim Reid // Apr 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    While the architects of Vote Compass may have taken liberty with the official (or one could say unsaid) Conservative platform vis a vis abortion and gay marriage issues, it is no secret that many Conservative MPs are socially conservative with regards to abortion rights and same-sex marriage.

    Conservative Sask MP Trost’s recent braggings on how the Planned Parenthood International was defunded is a case in point.

    Furthermore, that the Conservative Party objected to same-sex marriage law when they were the Official Opposition makes their position quite clear on this issue, even if it isn’t stated officially in their current platform.

    For these reasons, it would have been completely disingenuous for Vote Compass to assign a voter to the Conservative Party if the voter in question supports a woman’s right to choose or supports same-sex marriages.

    Thankfully, the makers of Vote Compass did their research….

  • 3 Helen Dykxhoorn // Apr 25, 2011 at 1:24 am

    When taking the CBC Compass poll, it seemed to me that on the social issues the poll had placed the Conservative Party’s policy positions far to the right of what they actually are.

    Those who hold strong views against abortion, for example, found at the end of the poll that they were ranked Conservative. Those who self identified as Conservatives but call themselves pro-choice found they were classified as Liberals in the poll.

    The Conservative Party is not pro-life. Nor is it against gay marriage. It merely allows its MP’s to vote their conscience on matters of morality.

    I believe the CBC made assumptions about Conservative policy and this confused many who are self identified Conservatives but who are social liberals. Whether this torqueing of the Party’s policies was intentional or not can best be answered by the CBC.

    Was the CBC telescoping onto this poll it’s impression or idea of what the CBC believes the Conservative Party believes rather than what it actually believes?

    Greater accuracy in assessing what a party’s policy positions really are would have been helpful and more accurate.

    Helen