Sunday, 25 April 2010

Still wondering where to put your cross in May?

I previously wrote about Votematch, which aims to help you find whose policies you agree with, but if your tiny mind is still baffled by the choices faced, I've got a few more sites for you. I've also included Votematch in this article, since I want to do a full list of those I've come across that I think are useful.

1. Votematch (cut-down copy of previous article):

After putting in your location in the form of a postcode (or if you’re paranoid that you’re being watched by green-eyed goblins, just select your country within the UK), you’ll be faced with a 30 statements, and with each you’ll need to agree, disagree, declare that you don’t know, or if thinking is too taxing, skip it. Having done that for all of them, you’ll need to select the issues which are most important to you, and then choose which parties you want to compare yourself with. Vote Match will pop up a jazzy little page which ranks the parties according to how similar they are to you, showing them in a visual bar chart thingy. If you click on the party names, you can see in which areas you agree or disagree with them, and if the website has listed on, read the party comment about the issue and why they take that stance.

If one of the parties is so convincing in their comment about their standpoint, or you realise how foolish you’ve been and want to change your  mind, you can return to the questions part of the process and change your response to the questions, which will then affect the percentage of agreement you have with the parties.

Of course, nothing beats reading the manifestos and policies of the parties, but that’s time-consuming and sleep-inducing, so this more interactive and attractive method could be much more appealing. Unless you’re a die-hard party supporter, you’re probably at least a little unsure of whom to vote for, so using this website could play a useful role in helping you to make up your mind. At least it beats flipping a coin, or voting based upon how much you like the candidate’s name – someone I know told me they’ve done that before. I wept for hours.

2. Sky Decision Time:

This one asks you to pick the policy which sounds most appealing to you from a number of different areas: education, defence, immigration, and so on. I'll also ask you to rank how important issues are, which will affect the recommendation. After picking a policy in each area, you'll be presented with a bar chart which shows who the policies you chose belong to - so if you chose mostly Labour policies, the Labour bar would be longest. The bar is also split into different sections of different length depending upon the importance you gave it. The bar can then be clicked to read more about the proposals in area. I did feel that it was very bias towards the three main parties, since the policies provided all belonged to Lib-Lab-Con, and the only other option is 'None of the above'. If they would add a few of a larger small parties - such as UKIP, Greens, and the BNP, it would perhaps be more useful. All in all, the simplest and quickest way of getting an idea of where you agree and disagree with the parties, but it's not in-depth.

3. MyVoteAdvisor

By far the most in-depth one that I've come across. Before starting, you should untick any parties which you're not interested in seeing the results for, since this will cut down on the number of policy options which you'll need to read. Once started, within each policy area, there are  number of questions where you can choose which policy you most agree with, and then rank its importance. If one of the questions doesn't interest you, you can miss it out and move onto the next one.

It takes a while to grind through this lot, but it seems to be quite accurate, and at the end, you're able to see whose policies you agreed and disagreed with, and change your answers if you've had an epiphany.

Take the Quiz

A fairly short one. Choose the policy area that you feel is most important: education, health, the EU, and then pick the policy that sounds most appealing to you from the different options. At the end, you'll be presented with a graph showing how much your answers match those of the parties, and a recommendation and brief write-up of the best match party.

I would like to see a feature allowing you to see where you agree and disagree with the policies.

5. Who Should You Vote For?

This one answers its own rhetorical question. This one is also fairly simple - a number of policy propositions will be displayed, and you'll need to rank them from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The results are also the most social media-friendly, as the site provides code for sharing your results on a webpage or blog, and the ability to Tweet them to your friends so you can create arguments amongst yourselves.

There are also a few other interesting quizzes linked along the top of the page, particularly the electoral reform one.

There we are, all done. Hopefully you'll notice a trend throughout the quizzes you take, which may help you to make up your mind about who to lend your vote to.

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