#EP14: What if European elections were determined by your political, economic and social values?

In just under a week the polls will open for elections to the European Parliament. In order to help citizens in Northern Ireland answer the question – who should I vote for? – researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have developed a Voting Advice Application.

The aim of this user-friendly ‘app’ is to help Northern Ireland’s voters identify which political party most closely represents their political, economic and social values using a series of scenarios and policy orientated questions.

The utility of such an app in the Northern Irish case, with its all-prevailing ethno-national cleavage, is of course open to debate (see Mike Nesbitt’s claim that ‘policies don’t swing voters’). Nonetheless, it is an interesting endeavour to establish voter proximity to parties on a range of policy issues removed from the ‘Green or Orange’ debate.

At the very least, it might surprise some to discover who their political bedfellows actually are.
The app can be accessed here.


  • nmatthews

    Hi all,

    If the link in the article does not work you can find the app at: http://eu1.euvox.eu/uk/

  • Ní Dhuibhir

    Interesting! I think the gap between the results of the app and how I vote is because the app doesn’t account for how much you believe a policy is sincere or workable, just whether it exists or not.

  • No Green Party option (although it does include the party in voting intentions) – lazy, lazy lazy. Disappointed in QUB colleagues, and I’m sure Professor John Barry will be too

  • nmatthews


    I agree. Some explanation for the absence of parties outside the executive offered in today’s Newsletter: http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/politics/elections-2014/app-links-voters-to-possible-parties-1-6063548

  • prolefodder

    A good idea to get people to align their values/policy preferences to parties rather than habit/tradition etc…pity then that a party that has more policies for its size than others, th Greens, suddenly disappear from the options at the end! Will be taking this up with my colleague John Garry!

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Limiting the results to the five main paties is a major weakness of the app, not to mention unfair to the other parties.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Some explanation for the absence of parties outside the executive offered in today’s Newsletter

    Their absence isn’t explained at all.

  • nmatthews

    Scáth Shéamais

    ‘Dr Garry accepted that was a “limitation” of the initiative which was as a result of limited resources.’

  • Charles_Gould

    Those with socialist or labour values should note the SdLp is the party in the PES.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    ‘Dr Garry accepted that was a “limitation” of the initiative which was as a result of limited resources.’

    That doesn’t explain anything. Seriously, what resources were limited – money, information, manpower? And why did the lack of resources mean they could include five parties (which just happened to be the big five) but not the other five?

  • nmatthews

    Scáth Shéamais

    It was a judgement call to include the five Executive parties. One which I’m sure most observers would regard as a sensible and reasonable one. This was a EU-wide initiative, and in every country other ‘smaller’ parties, unfortunately, were omitted. I believe this was more a case of finance rather than a willingness on the part of the research teams….

  • If the app is limited to the Euro election than limiting it to the Big Five is justified on pragmatic grounds as only the former Big Four parties have had European MPs. With Alliance finally getting an MP in East Belfast its inclusion is also warranted. But if it is to be used for local elections as well, this is a major deficit. At a minimum for local elections the app should feature all parties presently represented as well as NI21.

  • There is a full range of parties included in all the Vote Match sites, including http://www.votematch.org.uk

    So it was just laziness to leave out all but the grey parties.

  • nmatthews


    The Votematch for Northern Ireland only includes six parties (Alliance; DUP; Conservatives; Greens; SF; UKIP). So, it is far from comprehensive (these lazy researchers, eh?). The absence of the UUP & SDLP seems especially puzzling!

  • sergiogiorgio

    I liked the app and don’t really care if the Greens are left out as a one trick irrelevance. What it showed for me is that as a non socialist who won’t vote for a Unionist party I, in essence, have no vote in the EU elections. That, for me, is far more important than slabbering over the lack of the Greens.