Frequently asked questions
Who are you and why are you doing this?
We are Thoughtplay Ltd - a privately held UK company - but we run the site in our spare time. The research is by Paul Lenz, coding by Andrew Chapman and design by Helen Chapman. In the run up to the 2005 UK General Election we were frustrated by the difficulty with which voters could get a clear view on specific party policies without having to wade through lengthy, tedious manifestos. In response we created whoshouldyouvotefor.com - the first widely used voter comparison site in the world. The quiz was taken by over one million people in the three weeks running up to the election, and was the Hitwise-verified most popular political website in the country. We received press attention in five continents and were interviewed by radio stations are far afield as Japan and Australia. We have since created similar quizzes for the 2010 and 2015 UK elections, US Presidential elections and other political events. During the 2015 UK election our site was used 1.1 million times. Over the last ten years numerous similar sites have been created for elections around the world, driven in part we hope by the success and awareness of our original site.
What is the aim of the site?
The aim of this site is to provide voters in the 2017 UK general election with a simple tool to see how the policies of the main parties represent their views. While this site is not pursuing any political agenda we would obviously urge all users to research the issues in greater detail themselves before making their final voting choice. (The site also has other quizzes aimed at improving understanding of political ideas.)
Why haven't you included parties from Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland? Why are there only three parties?
The site is currently running our pre-manifesto version of the quiz, based on the limited information currently available. We will get a more sophisticated version up and running soon!
Are you affiliated with any political party?
Definitely not. We are not members of or activists for any political party or movement. We have not received any payment from any political party, organization or individual to create the site.
How do I use the site?
Select how much you agree or disagree with each of the statements made. You should only select a 'strongly' option if this is an issue that you care deeply about - we wouldn't expect many users to select more than seven or eight 'strongly' options. The site will then compare your feelings on the statements made with the policy statements of the main parties, and suggest which party you should vote for based on a points system which scores your result.
How does the scoring system work?
Each opinion you give will score between -9 and 9 points for each political party, depending on how closely your views reflect theirs. The points for each opinion are totalled, and the party which gets the highest score is the one recommended to you. The number of points allocated to each party for each opinion statement is clearly key to this survey. The allocation of points has been based, wherever possible, on clear policy statements from the parties concerned. Where a clear policy statement has does not exist, a judgment is made based on similar policies, speeches or statements of general philosophy.
How do you ensure that the site is not biased?
Objective question selection: wherever possible we have sought to select questions where there are clear, defined policy demarcations between the parties where no possible subjective interpretation of a party's position is required. In some instances, where there isn't a clear party policy position on a question point we then refer to speeches and related policy statements to take a position on the party's view. Where there is a lack of clarity then we will simply give a party a flat 'neutral' weighting. Transparency of mechanics and scoring: Our mechanics and calculation system have been described above, we having nothing to hide in terms of how the results are calculated. Fairness of question selection: We have attempted to include questions on/relating to the flagship policies of the main political parties (with the caveat that when we have drilled down into the detail of the policy it does appear to be materially different from what one or more of the other parties are pledging to do). More details on how we select the topic areas and question selection are given below under 'UK 2017 general election quiz information'. Language neutrality: We have attempted to balance the phrasing of the questions to ensure that there is not a positive bias towards any one particular party - in other words replying 'yes' to all of the questions will not materially favour one party of the others. This is to avoid any possible claims that there might be inherent response bias. (Note: at the pre-manifesto stage this process is less precise, but this will improve as the range of issues/questions increases.)
I believe that you are misrepresenting the position of a political party: what can I do?
If you are a private citizen with no connection with a political party, then nothing. Parties are big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves, and if they believe that we have got something wrong (and indeed care sufficiently) then we are sure that they will get in touch. Further to this point, if a political party feels that we are misrepresenting them on a particular issue, please would an official party spokesperson contact us directly - via email in the first instance as the origin can be verified - including a contact landline number. We would be happy to discuss with your objection, and how you believe your policy should be represented, provided you are prepared to substantiate the position on the record.
Do you run any other sites?
Yes, we run the crowdsourced book recommendation site WhatShouldIReadNext.com - it has been used more than 20 million times since we launched it. Why not check it out? We also run Giftfilter, a handy, visual way to pick presents for friends and family easily!
UK 2017 general election quiz information
The current, post-manifesto version of the quiz is based on policy statements in the three main parties' manifestos. More information coming here soon. The notes below refer to the pre-manifesto version.
We have attempted to find clear, simply policy positions for the three main parties in advance of the manifesto releases. This has, by necessity, resulted in a more reduced set of questions than normal - as manifestos are released and policy statements become clear, we will revisit and update the quiz.
The UK should remain within the single market and avoid a 'Hard Brexit'
• This is a key Liberal Democrat policy and neither of the other parties has made a similar commitment
Rent controls should be put in place to limit how much landlords can charge tenants
• This is a Labour party policy - see: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/10-pledges
The benefits cap (which limits the amount in state benefits that an individual household can claim per year to £20,000 a year outside London and £23,000 inside London) should be maintained
• This is a policy that was introduced by the coalition government and supported by the Liberal Democrats and the majority of Labour MPs. However Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell both voted against it and Jeremy Corbyn has committed to overturning it (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/16/labour-in-disarray-over-benefits-cap) and the Liberal Democrats tabled a motion to increase the level (http://www.libdemvoice.org/lib-dems-table-motion-on-benefit-cap-52382.html)
People who currently would be sent to prison for periods of less than 12 months should instead serve community sentences to reduce the pressure on prisons
• This is Liberal Democrat Party policy (http://www.libdems.org.uk/carmichael-autumn-conference-16)
There should be a significant increase in the number of selective grammar schools in the UK
• This is a Conservative party policy, not supported by the other two parties
The railway system in the UK should be returned to public ownership (renationalised)
• This is a Labour Party policy, not supported by the other two parties (see: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/10-pledges)
Income tax on people earning over £70,000 a year should be increased to help pay for essential services
• This is a Labour party policy - see: http://www.labour.org.uk/index.php/10-pledges for the principle and http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-rich-tax-increase-70000-income-raise-money-john-mcdonnell-public-services-funding-party-a7690156.html for the £70,000 figure
Zero-hours contracts should be abolished
• Labour seeks to completely abolish these, the Liberal Democrats would would give everyone the right to have a fixed hours contract
People possessing drugs for personal use should NOT be sent to prison
• This is a Liberal Democrat policy, Labour and the Conservatives oppose (see: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/31/labour-attack-lib-dem-drug-policy-medieval)
The rate of corporation tax in the UK should be reduced to help businesses grow
• This is a Conservative Party policy, not supported by the other parties
Work Capability Assessments for disabled people should continue
• Both Labour (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-disability-policy-wca-work-capability-assessment-fit-to-work-tests-scrap-jeremy-corbyn-debbie-a7331571.html) and the Liberal Democracts would replace (http://www.libdems.org.uk/work-capability-assessment-must-be-replaced)
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