What is Vote Compass?

Vote Compass is a civic engagement application designed by political scientists and run during election campaigns. Based on their responses to a set of policy propositions relevant to a given election campaign, users are provided with a real-time assessment of their position in the political landscape and their proximity to each of the candidates included in the application. Vote Compass stimulates democratic participation by offering the electorate an opportunity to engage with and compare the policy platforms of candidates in a clear and accessible manner that addresses points of differentiation between the candidates on a range of important issues.

Who is responsible for Vote Compass?

Vote Compass is developed by Vox Pop Labs, an independent, non-partisan group of social researchers and data scientists. Neither Vote Compass nor Vox Pop Labs are affiliated with any political organisation or interest group. See credits for more information.

Why aren't all the candidates included in Vote Compass?

Candidate positions in Vote Compass are determined by way of a two-part process. A research team of political scientists analyzes the available data on candidate positions vis-à-vis the issues reflected in the questionnaire. Based on this analysis, a determination is made as to how each candidate would respond to each proposition. The research team then initiates a direct dialogue with each of the candidates represented in Vote Compass as an additional check as to the accuracy of its calibrations. All candidates are provided with an opportunity to review and, if necessary, challenge the calibrations before Vote Compass is launched. In cases in which there do not exist sufficient public disclosures to establish a candidate's position on all of the issues included in Vote Compass and the candidate does not respond to the questionnaire, it is impossible to include them in the tool.

Does Vote Compass tell me how to vote?

Vote Compass results are not intended and should not be interpreted as voting advice, nor as a prediction as to which candidate a given user intends to vote for. Every eligible voter decides for themselves which candidate is most appropriate to represent them based on variant criteria, not all of which are included in Vote Compass. The focus of Vote Compass is on public policy issues and how the candidates differ on these issues, both among themselves and in relation to individual voters.

Why do the response categories not allow me to fully express my position on the issues?

Vote Compass has established standard units of measurement by which to compare the policies of the candidates. We acknowledge that most issues are more complicated than can be captured on a 5-point scale, but by reducing this complexity the policy positions are made more accessible and a more accurate proximity estimate between user and candidate is made possible. Vote Compass uses a 5-point scale instead of simply "Yes" and "No" to provide users with the opportunity to qualify their responses to a limited extent. Users who answer "somewhat agree" are essentially saying "Yes, but..." and users who answer "somewhat disagree" are essentially saying "No, but…".   

Why does Vote Compass place me closest to a candidate other than who I intend to vote for?

Vote Compass is not intended to predict which candidate a user intends to vote for in a given election nor which candidate a user feels that she or he is most closely aligned with. It specifies how the user is aligned with each of the candidates on the basis of the public policy issues included in Vote Compass.

How does Vote Compass determine my results?

Vote Compass calculates the user's alignment with the candidates by comparing the user's responses to the questionnaire with the candidates' positions on the same issues. See our methodology for details.

How does Vote Compass determine the positions of the candidates?

Candidates are plotted on the grid in the same way that users are: by using their responses to the questionnaire in order to plot them on the grid. Candidate responses to each of the questions in Vote Compass are derived through careful research of the individual platforms complemented by a consultative process between the academic team and the candidates themselves. See our methodology for details.

Why am I close to a candidate to whom I gave a low rating?

Candidate ratings are not included in the calculation of a user’s position in the two-dimensional plane. They are accounted for in the ratings graph on the results page.

Why am I close to a candidate for whom I specified that I was unlikely to vote?

The vote intention questions in Vote Compass are not used in the calculation of a user’s results.

Why do the graphs show different results?

In some cases, a user will appear to be more aligned with one candidate on the grid and a different candidate on one or both of the bar graphs. This is a normal and expected result. These various graphs are designed to provide different ways for users to interpret their results. The grid measures where users are situated in a multi-dimensional political system. The policy alignment bar graph measures how much you agree with the particular propositions included in the questionnaire. The leader evaluation bar graph measures your overall evaluation of the candidates. The multiple measures reflect the practical reality that a person may agree with certain policies of one candidate but feel more aligned with the general values of another. How an individual reconciles these competing perspectives is entirely up to her or him.

Is Vote Compass affiliated with any of the political parties or candidates?

No. Vote Compass is an independent, non-partisan initiative designed to provide users with an objective, transparent analysis of the political landscape.

What browser do I need to use Vote Compass?

Vote Compass includes support for current versions of Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. It is supported on tablet and mobile devices running current versions of iOS and Android.