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2015 Federal Election: Which party is most aligned with my views?

Written by Think Forward Staff
Thursday, 03 September 2015

If you're voting for the first time in this year's federal election, or you haven't had time to read through each of the parties' platforms, you might be wondering where you stand in relation to the major parties on important political issues, and which party is most aligned with your views.

Thankfully there are two popular websites – The Political Compass and CBC's Vote Compass – that can help you figure out how political parties differ across a range of issues, and how your own views compare to the parties' positions on those matters.

First published in 2001, The Political Compass is ideal for determining your general political ideology, and examining how your ideology compares to those of major parties running in a particular election, as well as famous political leaders. The Compass uses a series of questions to ascertain your views on the economy, society, the environment, religion, taxes, and sex, and the role that government should play in each of these areas. It then places your answers to these questions on a two-dimensional scale to organize your political thoughts into one of four categories – Authoritarian Left (top left quadrant of the scale), Authoritarian Right (top right), Libertarian Left (bottom left), and Libertarian Right (bottom right).

The Economic axis of the scale measures your opinions on how the economy should be run, with "Left" views favouring more state intervention in the economy, and "Right" views championing a lack of government involvement in the economy. The Social axis of the scale measures your thoughts on social issues and the level of freedom that citizens should enjoy, with "Libertarian" views supporting the maximization of personal freedoms, and "Authoritarian" views preferring obedience of authority.

Once you have completed the questions, the Compass reveals where you fall on its political scale, and allows you to compare where you stand in relation to famous political leaders and thinkers like Barack Obama, David Cameron, Noam Chomsky, and Mahatma Gandhi. The site also charts where major parties fall on the Political Compass scale in specific elections, based on the public statements, policy commitments, and governing records of the leaders and parties involved. As a result, you can compare your Political Compass result to the site's Canadian Election 2015 chart to determine which party is most aligned with your views in this year's election.

The CBC's Vote Compass is similar to the Political Compass, but with a few key differences. Like the latter tool, it measures your political views using a two-dimensional scale with Economic and Social axes. But whereas the Political Compass assesses your general political ideology and provides a separate analysis of the 2015 Federal Election (which you can indirectly compare your own views to), the Vote Compass directly calculates the alignment of your views with the positions of the major political parties in this year's federal election.

Based on your responses to a quick questionnaire, the CBC Vote Compass generates an analysis and chart of how your political views compare to the policy commitments and statements of the Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals, Greens, and Bloc Quebecois in the 2015 Federal Election, in order to give you an idea of how much you agree or disagree with the parties. You might find, for instance, that you are to the economic left of the Liberals, but more socially conservative than the Green Party. The Compass also shows how you rate the party leaders based on a number of different factors.

The Vote Compass was developed by a team of political scientists in consultation with the federal political parties, with the goal of promoting electoral literacy and public participation in the October 19th election.

In our opinion, both of these websites are extremely useful for gaining an understanding of your overall political ideology and determining where you stand in relation to the major parties on key political issues, particularly in this election. In that regard, each site can help you make an informed decision before casting a ballot this October. Ultimately it is up to you to decide which political party best represents your interests; however, the Political Compass and Vote Compass are excellent tools that you can use to help guide that decision.



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