- What is Vote for Policies?
- Vote for Policies helps you make an informed, unbiased decision about who to vote for. Compare policies from the main political parties on a range of key issues (such as Education, Health or Economy). After you have chosen the policies you prefer most, we’ll show you which parties they belong to. But be ready - the results can be surprising!
- Who's behind Vote for Policies?
- Vote for Policies is run by volunteers, and is an independent not-for-profit organisation. We do not have any connection to any political party or candidate, or any type of political organisation. Our mission is to increase participation in elections, so we want to give everyone the opportunity to make an informed, unbiased decision about who to vote for. You can read more on the team and the founder's story pages.
- How did you choose which parties to include?
We can't show policies from every single political party in the UK, so instead we aim to offer a range of parties across the political spectrum while remaining as relevant as possible. We have therefore focussed on the parties that already have seats in parliament and that will be fielding candidates in most constituencies.
As our basis, if a party has an MP in either England, Scotland or Wales we show that party's policies in all three countries. To keep things relevant however we apply exceptions to country-specific parties like Plaid Cymru (whose policies we only show if you vote in Wales), the Scottish National Party (whose polices we only show if you vote in Scotland), and the Scottish Greens (whose policies we show to voters in Scotland instead of the Green Party of England & Wales).
Northern Ireland is completely different as we show all of the parties that make up the Northern Ireland Executive, which is the same parties who have MPs in Westminster plus the addition of the Ulster Unionist Party.
Here's the list for each country:
- England: Conservatives, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP.
- Northern Ireland: Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist Party, Sinn Féin, Social Democratic & Labour Party, Ulster Unionist Party.
- Scotland: Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish Greens, Scottish National Party, UKIP.
- Wales: Conservatives, Green Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, UKIP.
Having more relevant parties in each country was a priority for developing our 2015 survey - it's been a challenge, but we're grateful to our users of the 2010 survey for requesting this!
- Are there other parties I can vote for?
- Yes. We are only showing the main parties for each country, and there will almost certainly be other options depending on where you live. To find out all of the parties who have candidates in your area, we provide a link from your survey results page (in the 'Constituency results' tab) to a list of all known candidates standing in your constituency. This information is provided and updated by YourNextMP.
- How did you choose which issues to include?
- The issues are the same as we used for our 2010 survey (which were taken from the 2010 manifestos) with the addition of a new Foreign policy & Defence. We're working with the political parties to make sure the issues reflect the policies they are focussing on for the 2015 general election, so there may be changes to the Issues when the election manifestos are released. We'll keep you posted about this on our blog.
- How are the national and constituency results calculated?
For national results every selection you make is included in the total, so if you compare policies on all ten issues, you will be adding ten to the total number of 'votes'. Every vote counts towards that party's total, and we calculate each party's score as a percentage of the total number of votes available (i.e. the total number of votes from all users, divided by all parties we have include across the UK).
For constituency results we do exactly the same, but we only include the parties available in your country (listed here) and only include votes from users in the same constituency as you.
- Where do you get the policies from?
The policies come from the 2015 manifestos of each political party - and in their own words. We take up to eight policy points (in the priority in which they appear in the manifesto) for each of the 10 issue areas, and send them to the political parties for approval. In some cases parties provide us with the policies directly. We don't write any of them on their behalf or interpret what we think the policies are. It is important that we do not alter any of the wording so that the style and tone of each political party is retained. We think this gives further valuable insight into the policy and party, and is an important consideration in your voting decision.
- What’s the point of policies anyway?
We often get feedback saying “Politicians don’t keep their promises - so what’s the point?!”. We understand this is a serious issue, and recognise that lack of accountability is one of the biggest barriers to voting. That’s why, after the 2015 general election, we will be creating a follow-up service to track the performance of whichever party (or coalition of parties) is elected, and report on their progress against their manifesto promises.
This has to be done fairly and with complete independence. But we believe this will help those people who don’t vote this year to see that policies really do matter, and that focussing on policies can help bring our democracy back into the hands of the people.
- Where is my results page?
If you have taken the survey and want to find your results again, just be sure to return to the site on the same computer / device on which you took the survey. When you do, you’ll see a green banner at the top of the page with a link directly to your results. Once there, you can bookmark this page or enter your email address to have the link sent to you.
- Can I access the results without taking the survey?
Yes, just go to our data section.
- Can I use the data - do you have an API?
Yes! We are very pleased to be opening up the results data for people who want to use it. Please visit data.voteforpolicies.org.uk for more.
- How is Vote for Policies different to other voter advice services?
There are other Voter Advice Applications (VAAs) available which provide users with a quiz with yes/no answers. They ask for your response on questions like, “Should we leave the EU?” or “Should we use nuclear energy?”. These sites are helpful - and we recommend you try them all - but they don’t give you the chance to compare the actual policies of each party, and in their own language.
Vote for Policies is the only service that connects you directly with the parties and their pledges. Focussing on policies in this way is not only the best way of helping people make a truly informed decision, it also provides a fair way of tracking a government’s progress after the election and holding them to account. We believe this is the path to a better democracy.
- Can I still access the old 2010 survey?
Yes you can. There is an archived version of the 2010 survey at 2010.voteforpolicies.org.uk