Vote-for-policies site is a green herring

A UK-based electoral survey site that lets users vote for policy rather than parties has been slammed as a sideshow.

Vote For Policies lets users pick the party whose ideas most closely match their own – without letting them know which party is which. So far nearly 145,000 Twitter and Facebook users have tried their hand.

The big surprise is who comes out on top: the Green Party, with 27.39 per cent of votes. Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats are next up with 18.1 per cent, leaving Labour and the Conservatives trailing at 17.53 per cent and 16.46 per cent, respectively.

The site was given a big thumbs-up by UK newspaper The Guardian on its Twitter feed. But not everyone has been so impressed. One blog suggested the site’s author was "if not a paid up member of the Green Party, then strongly aligned to their ways of thinking."

Anthony Wells from YouGov expressed doubts over the way the survey was put together. "It's hard to boil down policies in a way that’s fair. There’s no perfect solution,” he told THINQ.

Matt Chocqueel-Mangan of web consultancy Budcus, the site’s creator, rejects these accusations of bias. "The whole point of the survey is that it is a 'blind' test - there's no way we can influence this, and nor would we want to," he told us. "We don't edit the policy summaries - we just take the main bullet points and remove any reference to the party name. We have sent them to the political parties and most of them have given their assistance. It's a completely open process."

So are we heading for a Green landslide? We wouldn’t advise you to hold your breath.

"You always get lots of tools like this appearing close to an election," says Anthony Wells. "But individual policies aren’t actually a big determinant of voting behaviour. It’s not really representative of anything at all."