Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Electoral Compass

A friend of mine forwarded me this site -

I love it.

You basically get asked a series of questions about your current political views and it plots your results next to the results from each of the Democratic and Republican contenders.

And while the site is great to compare and contrast your views with the views of the candidates, it's even a better as a simple information collection and delivery mechanism.

The questionnaire at the start is easy to answer. It scrolls through a set of questions and indicates exactly how far you are along. Your answers then get plotted on a grid where you instantly see your position in the political landscape based on the questions you just answered.

In addition, each of the candidates are plotted as well. Pictures of them tell you right away who you are close to and who you are far from. Clicking on the pictures then brings up a window that indicates your level of agreement with that candidate on each of the major issues covered in the set of questions.

This is where I fall (I'm the pencil).

To the right of this image on the website, there is also a choice of different issues to compare. You can choose them all, or concentrate on a few to see how you fall compared to the other candidates.

This one simple tool has managed to solve a hugely complex problem - who do you agree and not agree with on the main political issues? You could have served this information up in a number of ways - lists, graphs, pie charts, tables, etc. None would have been as effective as this plot and set of simple interactive mechanisms.

Thanks Aaron for the link.

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Aaron said...

Happy to share. It only made me want to see some numbers showing how compass results and voters' pre-compass inclinations correlate. The conventional wisdom says a majority vote based on their gut, or at a minimum focus on one or two issues. Curious to see how accurate gut choice can be when it comes to all the issues.

Paul Soldera said...

Interesting. In that way a tool like this could add a lot of clarity to an individual's gut decision - is that person really who they want in the White House?

Ironically, if the set of questions compared your favorite color, food and astrological sign to those of the candidates, people would probably take it more seriously!