Working on the Vote for Policies Campaign – a case study

29 May 2015 by Alana Avery

From January to May 2015, we supported the Vote for Policies team to help as many people as possible to get out and vote in 2015 – and make policies the focus of their voting decision.

Vote for Policies Election Night Campaign Party

Vote for Policies Election Night Party

Vote for Policies (VfP) is a website that helps people decide how to vote by choosing the policies they prefer the most – without knowing which party they belong to until the end.

It is a non-profit, independent organisation that was set up in 2010 for the general election by Matt Chocqueel-Mangan, and was brought back by popular demand in 2015 with a successful crowd-funding campaign (supported by 900 individuals) and match-funding from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

Vote for Policies passionately believes that we need to focus on policies when we vote, not media spin or leaders’ personalities. Their aim is to help people to make an informed, unbiased decision on who to vote for.

 On Road’s role

We worked with VfP to devise a marketing campaign to reach as many people as possible with the service; working with the media, encouraging volunteers to spread the message, organising a public debate and working with a creative agency to produce a viral video.

   

We supported VfP to get national and local coverage and endorsements in the tech world and sustainability sector. VfP was also covered regionally in papers like the Mancunion and Lincolnite and national coverage included the Financial Times, BBC One’s Question Time and the New Internationalist. Celebrities like Richard Branson and Caitlin Moran endorsed the service, as well as politicians like the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas and UKIP’s Suzanne Evans.

Activities

We tried to boost VfP amongst the younger generation through Facebook, the election mash-up video, and blogs (e.g. Channel 4, Sabotage Times). We encouraged young people to register to vote and think about focusing their vote on the party whose policies they agreed with the most.

We held a public debate on policies vs personalities with nearly 100 delegates and five well-known speakers in partnership with Birkbeck University. We live tweeted the event using #VfPDebate and you can read about the discussions in this blog by Rosie Parkyn.

We also helped to publicise the TNS nationally representative poll which used the education and health sections of the Vote for Policies survey. The findings from this poll, which was carried out with nearly 1200 adults, showed UKIP’s policies on health were favoured with the Liberal Democrats closely behind. The Green Party and Labour came third and fourth respectively. On education, the Liberal Democrats led, and UKIP’s policies came second with the Green party holding third place. To read an analysis of the poll and what it means, read Matt Chocqueel-Mangan’s Huffington Post blog.

The website reached 910,000 survey completions by 10pm on May 7th (polling day) but thousands kept doing the survey, even after polling stations shut.

921k overall results

 

Using the Groups function, we saw families, schools, parishes, businesses, social groups and organisations using the survey, and many were surprised by their results. What excited us most was seeing how many people discussed their results and shared them online.

Read more about Vote for Policies and their response to the 2015 General Election result and what that means for digital democracy.