Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Undecided

There's a disturbing lack of political content on this site. It's not that I'm a closet political junkie, but I keep up with the news, following federal politics with some interest, and that's never reflected here. Unfortunately, election years are always an exercise in frustration for me, because we're in a riding with mostly conservative, elderly transplants from the prairies, and these people apparently love our illustrious MP and his Republican-lite party.

So a vote for anyone else feels futile because it's never even close, but I'll likely do what I do every election and choose between the NDP and the Green Party, depending on the quality of the local candidates. Last time around I sort of wished that I had voted Liberal, only because the Liberal was the distant second-place finisher, and anything to make it closer would have been preferable to lodging my usual protest vote.

Anyway, I didn't start this post to whine about my disaffection. I found this online tool extremely well done and an easy way to get a sense of how your values match up to the platforms of the main parties: The Undecided. You take your stand on all the issues, then rate the importance of each issue with a little slider that helps you calculate the best matches. My results: 32% Green, 27% NDP, 19% Liberal, 19% Bloc, and 3% Conservative. I'm surprised to have even that tiny amount of alignment with our ruling party -- it's shocking how strongly I disagree with nearly everything in their platform.

This must be how 100 million Americans have felt every morning for eight years, when they wake up to realize George W. Bush is still their president.


Anonymous said...

An interesting site. I don't know if their questions always ask the right questions. "Truly don't give a poop" wasn't an option on same-sex marriage. So I have to pick a party then give it a 0%.

Also noticed that same-sex marriage came up in one option under "Accountability", while all the other options referenced largely monetary issues. Obviously the Conservatives, so I think the whole notion of treating this as an objective, blind format isn't truthful.

The National parks question is another example. I'm not sure what "completing the process" is supposed to mean, but apparently even though I thought the 15 new parks the Conservatives are backing is a good thing, I am against them. It's simply a skewed question.

Must have been fun building this site though. It's pretty cool, even if it can't hit the bullseye on neutrality.

The Plett voting policy:
If you are of legal voting age and choose not to vote, you have no right to ever offer one single word of complaint about the way in which you are governed.

Happy voting. When's the election?

Jeremy said...

I thought you might poke holes in this one, Plett. There are a few of those that make it easy to "game" if you already know you dislike the Conservatives, and I agree that some of the questions are leading (if not misleading). I think it was mostly the Yes/No ones that seemed to be most obviously polarized. Selecting zero importance on those issues is a valid response that minimizes those selections, and I don't think anyone claimed it was perfectly objective (as an aside, finding out who funded it would be interesting).

Overall, I think it's useful -- I suspect there are a lot of people who could go through the exercise and find that their views are not reflected very well by the platform of the ruling party. They've mostly kept their noses clean and their image relatively polished, but I doubt most Canadians actually share their values (as manifested by their platform). Yet many will vote for them anyway, just as the poorest and least-educated people in the U.S. line up to vote Republican year after year, despite it being fairly obvious that it is not in their best interest.

Many of the questions in there are things I don't care about either, in my day-to-day life -- your example of same-sex marriage is a good one -- but I find myself caring about those issues because of the asinine stance the Conservatives have taken on them. As long as the Conservatives aren't in power, I think those issues could be handled fairly smoothly (and hardly getting on my radar).

Over the years, I've willfully decided not to vote, spoiled my ballot, and voted strategically...but mostly got out to vote and followed my heart. I fear that most Canadians have been paying more attention to Obama and the Alaskan hockey-mom than the sorry state of our own I'd like to see better voter turnout this time around, but I'm not holding my breath.

October 14th, less than a month away.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Thanks for this link. Someone emailed me about it this week, I think it was, and I wasn't sure if it was legit. Of course, I didn't even go look at it. Now my interest is piqued even more.

Chris said...

Well, it's not a test of your political stripes...seems to me it attempts to lay out pieces of the platform side by side so you can compare. In that sense, it's interesting.

Obviously I'm not going to vote Conservative and the fact that I could identify Conservative planks is not a problem. I'm an educated voter, and the Cons do a good job of promoting their platform so you know where you stand.

What I found more intriguing is the fact that I scored much like you J, with a split between Green and NDP, and not a really passionate support of either. This helps to explain my general indifference to this election campaign.

Anyway, with all it's flaws, it's interesting. Some days I wish the Bloc ran in West Vancouver - Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Country though.

Tannis said...

I had fun with it too. Assuming that the snips are remotely accurate representations of the actual platforms, it's a "fun" way to find out more about them. I can't honestly say I've taken the time to wade through any of the rhetoric yet.

I haven't looked into who is running locally yet either. I agree though that it won't matter much here in blue(hair)land.

Jeremy said...

Jules! Fancy meeting you here. There may be a U.S. version of the same thing...or there should be anyway. But I doubt you'll find the Canadian platforms very interesting.

Jeremy said...

Chris and Tannis: agreed, as a way to compare platforms quickly, it's really interesting. It also puts issues in front of you that you otherwise wouldn't have paid much attention to, which I think is good...because once you start paying attention, you realize that some of them do matter. It's a tool for engagement that way.