I’ve noticed in this General Election more than any other that there is an abundance of tools online to help the electorate align themselves with a party that matches closer to their values than another. Does it work though? Take a look at where I ended up across different guides. And don’t judge me…
The questions weren’t exactly in-depth, each policy area was skimmed across rather than actually getting down to the nitty gritty of matching myself and a party.
Now this didn’t cover Northern Ireland but I felt it still worth trying to see where I ended up, I have used similar tools in the past and I tended to show conservative party tendencies more than Labour. That’s not quite what Who Should You Vote For turned up but such is the nature of this kind of thing…
This was an arduous form to fill in online, it wasn’t so much asking questions as just giving me excerpts from manifestos and trying to rule some out. I think there were about 12 stages, each stage required me to read roughly 5 or 6 manifesto points for each unnamed party for 5 different “parties”, stating whether I could vote for a party with those policies or not, then after the 5 “parties” have been filtered I had to select my preferred manifesto from those in 5 I had said I could vote for.
I personally feel I sit closer to Alliance/Sinn Fein & maybe Green Party than others, so to have UUP as my closest match was a surprise, but to have Alliance, SF both on 20% with the DUP narrowly behind that on 10%… I’m not sure the mechanism is great here, it’s aiming to fill 100% points, I’d rather that 100% was allocated for each party, eg I fit with 75% of UUP policies, 67% of Alliance, 53% of Sinn Fein…I feel that would give me a stronger view and a better base from which to decide my vote.
I loved the user interface for Position Dial, it asked the right kind of questions and had an ever developing graph of my own political dial as I answered each question. It was interesting to see a political tendency to show up and then grow or reduce as subsequent questions influence the skew.
Again I was surprised to have Labour sitting so high in my matches, Lib Dem I think aren’t a million miles away from matching my view point in many areas, but to have The Green Party & Conservative Party sitting below 35% was surprising. Another tool that doesn’t touch base with the Northern Irish parties but considering how strong this device was I was still glad I filled in the questions.
Another good interface, you can fill in questions on policy areas that it decides are definitely something you should answer, but you can expand policy areas for more in-depth questions if you’re so inclined.
I definitely feel that I Side With gives me the best overview of where I fit in UK politics, it encompasses all the main players and some of the fringe parties too. Conservatives, Labour & Lib Dem sit close together which I wouldn’t have expected but perhaps it’s because I’m a bit of an eclectic mind when it comes to policies…I don’t find many natural homes. Shocked to have UKIP up there but the results explains what policy areas I match a party with, so for UKIP I crossover with their policies on Economic, Domestic & Environmental…good to know I guess. As far as Northern Ireland goes, Sinn Fein are my closest match with DUP a long way down in 6th place, I would like to have seen more NI parties showing here, especially considering that the British National Party are factored in, SDLP/UUP/Alliance arguably have more right to be included in this kind of a tool than the BNP but that’s for the makers to decide I guess. Like the BBC ignoring NI parties for debates, at least there is more than 1 NI party included.
This didn’t have too many questions to answer but there were better options than just agree or disagree, this seemed to be a problem with some tools.
Vote Match caters for your individual constituency, I was given the options that mattered most to me on polling day. I was surprised Sinn Fein were so low and the SDLP were so high but it can only factor in the answers I give to the questions I am asked, perhaps more questions would be better.
A great range of questions, 10 separate questions for each policy area
Again, NI parties aren’t really focused on here with just DUP showing, when Respect are allowed into the party, it’s tough to justify excluding Alliance, SF, SDLP etc… It’s not even like more people have the opportunity to vote for Respect than Sinn Fein or the like… There isn’t a big percentage spread across the parties, my best match is only 18% away from my worst… I’m not that much of a fence-sitter for this to be accurate.
Great questions, an absolute abundance, maybe too many but they were right for me and didn’t bore me in the way that some tools did. I especially appreciated the final section where you place yourself on a 0-10 scale on issues such as Economic Freedom/Restriction, unionism/nationalism, socially conservative or liberal, and also fill in where YOU feel the parties in your constituency fit on the same scale, not just being told where they are.
Another app that acknowledges constituencies and gives specific suggestions based on the options available to me. Even going so far as to have the NI Conservative logo instead of just the UK standard. I’m surprised at the results, I think pairing a tool from another device where it indicates in what areas I match well with parties. Surprising results but I have voted Alliance before and they are in my top 2 going into the polling booth this year so it must have some degree of accuracy
I suspect this is an old tool just rehashed from EU elections for the GE
I like that it explains how many points I DISAGREED with on my best match party, and how many points I AGREED with on my least well matched, it let’s me know quite how spread my view is in relation to the options available in the ballot booth. The results are fairly close to what I would have expected, DUP perhaps I would have thought much lower and Conservative a bit higher, but the questions were very eurocentric rather than NI policy based.
So did you use any tools? What did you think of them? Let Slugger know
Kris tweets ferociously as @belfastbarman and runs an associated site, www.belfastbarman.com where he occasionally opines his views. He lived abroad for a while and as such, feels he will never really ‘get’ this place. Formerly a barman, he regularly broke the cardinal rules of, “No politics or religion in the pub,” as such, he turned to writing. Previously a stand up comedian and an animal crematorium assistant, now works in marketing and is a recently joined member of the Alliance Party.