- What is Vote for Policies?
- Who’s behind Vote for Policies?
- How did you choose which parties to include?
- Are there other parties I can vote for?
- How are the national and constituency results calculated?
- Where do you get the policies from?
- What if I can’t decide which policies I prefer?
- What’s the point of policies anyway?
- Where is my results page?
- What isn’t Northern Ireland covered?
- How is Vote for Policies different to other voter advice services?
- Can I see results from previous surveys?
What is Vote for Policies?
Vote for Policies helps you make an informed, unbiased decision about who to vote for. Compare policies on a range of key issues (such as Education, Health or Economy) without knowing which party they belong to. It’s the best way to get a clear, informed and unbiased view of what each party is promising to do. But be ready – the results can be surprising!
Who’s behind Vote for Policies?
Vote for Policies is an independent not-for-profit organisation, run by volunteers. 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 (yet) show policies from only those parties who have candidates in your area. 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 the largest five parties that make up the Northern Ireland Executive, which is the same parties who have MPs in Westminster plus the addition of the Alliance 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.
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 Who Can I Vote For?.
How are the national and constituency results calculated?
For the national results every selection you make is included in the total. For example, if you compare policies on ten issues, you will be adding ten to the total number of ‘votes’. We simply add up the number of ‘votes’ for each party and divide it by the total. This gives us the percentage for each party.
For constituency results we do exactly the same, but we only include votes from users in the same constituency.
Where do you get the policies from?
The policies come from the 2019 manifestos of each political party. We take up to eight policies based on the priority in which they appear in the manifesto. We also try to include policies on core issues from every party (e.g. tax rates, house building, net migration) to make it easier to compare across parties. Before releasing them on the site we send them to each political party for any comments and approval.
What if I can’t decide which policies I prefer?
For any issue (education, environment, economy, and so on) political parties might have policies you like, mixed with some you don’t. This can make it difficult to choose a ‘preferred’ option. If this happens, and you really can’t split the parties on this issue, it might be that you just have to focus more on the other issues when deciding who to vote for. But bear in mind we’re only showing a few of the key policies. If you want to get the full picture – and if you’re feeling super committed – you could get hold of the manifestos and get right into the detail!
Because we can only vote for one party, we have to vote for all of their policies – even the ones we don’t like. But knowing what we don’t agree with can be just as important. It’s all part of making an informed choice.
What’s the point of policies anyway?
We do 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 we created Policy Tracker to track the performance of whichever party (or coalition of parties) is elected by showing the progress of each of their manifesto promises.
This has to be done fairly and with complete independence. But we believe this will help people to see that policies really do matter, and that focussing on policies can help bring 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.
Why isn’t Northern Ireland covered?
Regrettably we couldn’t accommodate parties from Northern Ireland. We explain why as part of this blog post.
How is Vote for Policies different to other voter advice services?
There are other ‘Voter Advice Applications’ (VAAs) available, most of which ask users to give yes/no answers to questions like “Should we nationalise the railways?” or “Should we use nuclear energy?”. These sites are quick to use and really helpful (we recommend you try them all – there is a list at the bottom of this page). But Vote for Policies uses the actual policies from each party, so you know exactly what you are voting for. Comparing policies in this way not only helps us make a truly informed decision, it also provides the foundation for tracking the government’s progress after the election and holding them to account. We believe this is the path to a better democracy.
Can I still see results from previous elections?
You sure can. You can see the results from 2010, 2015 and 2017 general election surveys. We’re hoping to replace these pages soon with a more integrated data section. If you’d like to help with the development, please get in touch.