The 2015 general election ‘Vote for policies’ website was launched on Thursday.
The idea behind the website is to encourage voters not to be blinded by spin, tactics and personalities and choose the policies they most agree with. Voters pick up to four areas in which they are interested and are given a range of policies from different parties, but are not told who the policies belong to. At the end voters will get to see which parties they correlate with most.
An older version existed for the 2010 election, but the newer one is relevant to May’s election. The latest version takes account of regional variation, for example by including the SNP in Scotland, Plaid Cymru in Wales, and eventually the parties in Northern Ireland.
Voters can also put in their postcode at the end and compare their results with both everyone who has completed the test nationally, as well as in their own constituency.
On their website it says that:
“Vote for Policies is an independent non-profit run by volunteers. Our mission is to increase participation in elections, and make policies the focus of everyone’s voting decision.”
So far, as of 23:12 on Thursday the 19th of February, 28.5% of people have matched with the Greens, 22.6% have matched with Labour, 20.9% the Lib Dems, 11.7% UKIP and 9.8% with the Conservatives. This is out of around 14,100 people who have taken the survey at this time.
Additionally, according to the survey, the top three issues picked so far are: 1) Health/NHS, 2) Education, and 3) The Economy.
The idea of a vote for policies survey is an interesting one. On one hand, it boils the election down to a battle of ideas and how to combat the problems in society - an intriguing prospect. But on the other, it neglects leadership abilities and abilities of MPs and local candidates. The website is a good step in the right direction in helping people who are not necessarily engaged in politics decide who they should vote for, but other factors should be considered too. And whilst it could be said that focusing on policies is a brave thing to do in 2015, in this day and age the issue of personalities in politics will not go away.
What did you get in the survey? Did the results surprise you at all? Is the 'Vote for policies' argument a good one too make or should other factors matter?