back to article Vote compass unmasks Canadian political opinion

Canada is gearing up for another federal election and The CBC – Canada’s state-owned broadcaster – has released an online tool to help the undecided. Called the “vote compass”, the application was created by an advisory panel of top political scientists. The tool is a flash application consisting of 30 questions. The results …


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  1. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Up

    It might make a change from...

    ... I'm voting for Party X because my parents always voted for them!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Not Quite an Anarchist

    Economic Left/Right: -3.12

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.08

    I'm not quite an anarchist, then. But having taken this test previously, I find myself gradually drifting towards anarcho-communism. I won't be defacing the front of Fortnum & Mason any time soon, though. Seems I've got to work my way through hippydom first.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    oh joy.

    I wonder what Anonymous is going to do with this one...

    The Game.

  4. IMVHO
    Thumb Up

    I quite like it

    I think that it's a better approach than "Who are you going to vote for?". This starts with the issues, though still somewhat broad, and ends with "you're closest to here, and farthest from here". Of course, it's somewhat like a too-simple-by-half personality test. On those, watch for the "Do you enjoy murdering neighborhood pets?", it's always the giveaway.

    I don't care for the proofing of the article, though. "the vote compass isbacked by a massive coast-to-coast marketing campaign. These marketing efforts in turn give CBC excusive rights". Are "excusive rights" like a hall pass of sorts? And that "isbacked"... it's spilt (or is it spilled?) with a zed, silly numknuts!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    This is news?

    Apparently this is news on the other side of the pond.

    We've had these vote compasses (or "Voting Advice Applications") since 1990's in Finland, and there are dozens of VAA's by TV stations, newspapers, special interest groups and so on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I always assume ...

      ... that anonymous Fins are A McC. Apples to you.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    All very well, but ...

    All it does is put you somewhere on a left/right vs Authoritarian/liberal scale. How do you relate that to political parties? EG an example from the site showed Gordon Brown as Authoritarian& Right Wing, which isn't supposed to be the labour way. The parties are not acting according to their labels these days, so it's all a bit meaningless.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Even *if* the political spectrum really is a Left-Right one-dimensional line, then it's a line bent into a circle where the ultra-extreme Left and ultra-extreme Right join into an indistinguishable evil smudge on the fabric of humanity. Stalin, Hitler... both killed millions.

    Thankfully Canadian politics is mostly in the middle. Leaving only the Axis of Stupid and the Axis of Corruption.

  8. AdamWill


    ...the noscript test. Allow, try and start it, sends me right back to the start page. Sigh.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Look again

      I use NoScript. Look at all the settings and enable one more. VA passes, you failed.

    2. Solomon Grundy

      Try Scrolling Down...

      Scroll down toward the bottom of that page and use that link.

  9. Gareth Jones 2

    Default Setting: Liberal?

    It seems whether you respond by agreeing with all the questions, or by disagreeing with all of them, it ends up by telling you that you're a "Liberal" - whatever that means in Canada.

    According to smalldeadanimals:

    Cliff van der Linden, one of the four University of Toronto graduate students who, along with "some of Canada's top political academics," spent months preparing Vote Compass:

    "People might be surprised at where they end up....they voted a certain way all their lives, and then, suddenly, they answer these questions truthfully and honestly, and at the end of the day, maybe they're closer to another party."

    That Liberal thing - must be just the way the questions are arranged - of course the CBC wouldn't try to influence voters or anything, any more than the BBC would...

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Needle stuck on the compass

      I came out Liberal as well, yet they don't match my politics. I agree, It's obviously the default. Actually I found the whole thing a bit of a farce because most of the questions were not important political issues to me. This "compass" has a stuck needle.

    2. efeffess

      What default setting?

      And what kind of drugs are you on? I'm thinking the ones I'm on won't hold a candle to yours.

      I took the test three times: one to gauge my own responses (I'm a leftwards libertarian), another to check all as 'disagree strongly' (center horizontal, halfways to libertarian), and another to check all as 'agree strongly' (center horizontal, halfways to authoritarian).

      As far as corporations go, relying solely on their data instead of independently researching the validity of the information is signing yourself up to be an unthinking sheep, which is what mainstream media wants. Just a couple of Canadian pennies there.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well shoot, paint me a left/leftie.

    -3.38, -4.62

    And there I was, thinking I was more of a rightwing type of person. Then again, a lot of questions had me go "I don't care", "not my problem", "why are you even asking about that, eh?" so maybe that skewed the results a bit, as I couldn't answer "mu" or "meh".

    Some of these things just aren't interesting to me. Moreover, plenty of things people get hung up about in my view aren't rightly things the government needs to meddle in. In other questions, the implied dichotomy just doesn't exist for me. Like how I'd like not so much a small government, but the smallest that can efficiently do what we want it to do. That leaves open the question: Just what do we want our government to do? Mostly leave the population to mind their own business, but sometimes a government is mighty handy to step in.

    The american system hinges on the government being mostly inefficient as protection against abuse. That is no longer tenable. So we'll have to find better, more efficient ways of keeping the government in check and preventing it from slowly growing, eventually and inevitably growing out of control. Hello scads and scads of TLAgencies.

    Personally I'd really prefer a government that knows very well what it is there to do and also what it is not there to do, and does what it should do efficiently, with suitable and functional checks and balances built right in.

    This clashes rather violently with what various political movements want, which most of the time turns out to be to make the machinery uniquely benefit them or theirs. To me, the government is there for everyone, and competition or even head-on clashes of crackpot philosophies is not the best grease for administrative machinery.

  11. packrat

    old method; I'VE changed

    interesting. Other than screaming objections at the questions at the top of my lungs... (goes right along with the dirty looks my mirror gives me mornings)

    try this.. from a author-right 2d 3d

    (only 3 megs?)

    surprise ending. 1 minute long

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Is anyone going to admit to being an authoritarian right-winger?

    Anyone finding themselves in the lower left quadrant must be happy with the company they're keeping: Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.

    Being a libertarian socialist effectively means you want people to be free to do as they please without harming others and people should try and look out for each other a bit. Most people probably wouldn't disagree with a proposition like that. The real controversy is over what is actually harmful to others or society as a whole, which this test (by design) doesn't address at all

    I can't help but feel that anyone finding themselves in another quadrant should probably be asking themselves "Am I a bit of a c***?"

  13. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: authoritarian right-winger.

    Hmm, apparently that'll be me in a sort of vague way.

    Rather annoying really. Many moons back when I last had a go, I ended up as a right-wing libertarian, which is where I thought I still was and was happy with it. Apparently I've moved north a bit, just squeaking over the line. Most annoying.

    Personally I regard "libertarian socialist" as a blatant contradiction in terms, in all bar the most theoretical sense. I also reckon anyone suggesting that someone might be "a bit of a c***" purely due to their political views is probably someone who's fallen into the usual socialist trap of thinking that "equality" somehow means "everyone must think the way we do". As that's the antithesis of libertarianism, I refer you to your own question.....

    Short version: "Meh".

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re: authoritarian right-winger

      I don't think we should be afraid to judge people's character by their political opinions. Sure, expressing those judgements as crudely as I did doesn't really make for productive political discourse, but I don't think anyone comes *here* for that :)

      Also, as something of a libertarian, I think people should be free to be "a bit of a c***" (but only a bit).

  14. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Quite interesting...


    Pretty much shows what I though of myself: Quite middle-of-the-road economically but reasonably libertarian.

    It's an interesting experiment, and I support the way it seems to be being used to broaden the people's political horizons (voting for those who most closely match your position, rather than "we're a Labour/Conservative family"). I doubt it will work, though, and it is an oversimplification, but interesting non-the-less.

  15. Sabine Miehlbradt


    Economic Left/Right: -6.50

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.28

    What does that translate to in meaningful terms? Chaotic Evil?

    Damn, I usually go for true neutral. It's even more challenging then lawful good.

  16. Phil 54


    Economic Left/Right: -5.50

    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.08

    Didn't think I was as left as that, but the libertarian part doesn't surprise me

  17. Mark .

    Re: Politics...

    "Even *if* the political spectrum really is a Left-Right one-dimensional line, then it's a line bent into a circle where the ultra-extreme Left and ultra-extreme Right join into an indistinguishable evil smudge on the fabric of humanity."

    Well that's the exact point being made here - to be meaningful, you need at least 2 dimensions. They consider left/right only in the pure economic sense of the word. In your example, both Stalin and Hitler ran authoritarian societies, so were not at opposite ends.

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