Our survey of candidates is finally live! We’re getting thousands of people flooding in and reviewing the responses we’ve got so far. It’s really exciting to have got this far, as part of a team of thousands of volunteers. Here’s an FAQ about the survey.
Where are the answers? I can’t see them!
For each statement, you first need to select what you think in order to reveal what the candidates had to say.
What does it mean if someone hasn’t answered?
In some cases, the candidate might not know about the survey, but in the majority of cases, they will have had an opportunity to reply. We are doing everything we can to contact as many as possible:
We have email addresses for 80% of candidates. Some of them will inevitably be incorrect; part of the project has been to try to find valid contact details. That means we’ve maybe successfully emailed about 75% of them. Candidates are very busy, so might not have noticed our emails; but we’re trying to make sure voters have reminded them in each constituency (you can see how many reminders they’ve been sent on our constituency listing page)
For the remainder, we’re sending old-fashioned letters to everyone we have postal addresses for.
So, for an individual constituency, you can’t be sure that a candidate definitely saw the survey request. However, overall, the statistics showing responses by party are definitely of interest.
Why haven’t you got responses from the BNP? Are you biased?
We are completely neutral about this project, and want as many candidates as possible to answer the survey. Sadly, in the case of the BNP, it’s very hard to get their contact details — we’ve tried. It’s also hard to get contact details for many Independents. If you find any, or you’re from any party which we have poor email coverage for and can supply us with email addresses, please let our partner site YourNextMP know.
How did you come up with the questions? Why haven’t you got one about the stuff that’s important to me?
Our volunteers helped come up with the local questions, and a balanced panel came up with the national questions. Getting the balance of questions right was hard; we think we did a good job, but suggestions for how to do better next time are welcome! There’s a full blog post about the process on the TheyWorkForYou blog.
I’m a candidate, and I think this is all a Labour/Tory/LibDem push-polling project
We can’t please everyone with our selection of questions, but we’ve tried to be balanced and open. Some of the local issues sometimes come out unbalanced because we had to rely on volunteers, and in some constituencies only one volunteer came forward; so the local questions are sometimes only representative of a single person’s concerns. We still think the answers can be interesting, though!
I’m a candidate, and I object to being forced into expressing my opinions in this format
To be sure, a multiple choice plus very short text box is a limiting format, and we understand it can be difficult to answer some of the questions as fully as you’d like. However, we wanted to give voters an way of comparing what their candidates have to say which was easy to understand. Voters are tired of spin and media management of messages, and this is a refreshing and new way to engage with them, openly and transparently, on a fair and equal footing with other candidates.
Also, we encourage you to change your mind about any of these questions in the future! One of the problems with our current political/media system is that it’s seen as a bad thing to change your mind. We think this is wrong, but equally, you should be prepared to defend your change of mind should it happen; which is why we think it’s good for you to go on the record. We might, for example, run the same survey again in a year to give you a chance to show how your opinions have changed.
Why are you asking questions about issues over which my MP will have no power?
We know that many of the questions are the responsibility of local government, or of devolved parliaments and assemblies. However, we think that a candidate’s views on these issues give some insight into the person, rather than the party they represent — something we think voters want and deserve.