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 parties included in the application. Vote Compass stimulates democratic participation by offering the electorate an opportunity to engage with and compare the policy platforms of parties in a clear and accessible manner that addresses points of differentiation between the parties 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 parties included in Vote Compass?

Political parties that had at least one MP elected in 2014 automatically qualify for inclusion. If a party isn’t eligible on those grounds, it may still be included so long as it can meet the following three conditions: it is registered with the New Zealand Electoral Commission, it has policy on a range of high profile issues and it is recognised as having the potential to influence the make-up of the next government.

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 party 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 parties 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 parties. 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 parties 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 party other than the one I intend to vote for?

Vote Compass is not intended to predict which party a user intends to vote for in a given election nor which party a user feels that she or he is most closely aligned with. It specifies how the user is aligned with each of the parties 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 parties by comparing the user's responses to the questionnaire with the parties' positions on the same issues. See our methodology for details.

How does Vote Compass determine the positions of the parties?

Parties 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. Party 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 parties themselves. See our methodology for details.

Why am I close to a party to whose leader I gave a low rating?

Leader 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 party for which 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 party on the grid and a different party 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 party leaders. The multiple measures reflect the practical reality that a person may agree with certain policies of one party 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.