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May 6th, 2015

Party policy positions and constituency predictions

By 38 Degrees team

How did 38 Degrees decide on what to do during the election campaign?

38 Degrees members decided together what to campaign on in the run up to the General Election. 137,105 of us took part in an online survey and thousands more met up in cafes, front rooms and pubs to discuss our election plans. Together, we decided 38 Degrees should provide neutral information on where political parties stand on the issues our members care about the most and focus on campaigning on the issues most important to our movement, in the areas where to race is tight. The full plan 38 Degrees members voted for is here: http://election-plan.38degrees.org.uk/

Where did the information on where the main parties’ positions come from?

The main parties’ policy positions on key issues 38 Degrees members care about were sourced from VoteMatch – an independent website which highlights policy differences between political parties. They asked the main parties in England, Scotland and Wales where they stood on a wide range of issues. In the scorecard produced by 38 Degrees we whittled the issues down to those 38 Degrees members chose to prioritise during the election.

VoteMatch helps you work out which party actually agrees with you based on what their plans are – not what they say on the hoof. It cuts straight through the spin to the promises in the parties’ manifestos. Here’s the link to the VoteMatch website: http://www.votematch.org/
And here’s a direct link to where you can take the VoteMatch quiz and find out your party political match! https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/votematch

Why aren’t all the parties standing where I live included?

VoteMatch is a form of online hustings. The Electoral Commission’s guidance acknowledges that at times it may not be practicable to include all candidates and parties in a hustings, but that if candidates or parties are not included, there must be clear objective reasons for that decision. VoteMatch’s methodology means that parties need to have at least one elected representative at a devolved, Westminster or European Parliament level to be included.

Why are you sharing constituency level predictions?

38 Degrees members decided to focus efforts in places where the election race is close. We have used the neutral website electionforecast.co.uk as the basis of deciding where the race is close and for constituency predictions: http://electionforecast.co.uk/.

Election Forecast is a neutral project which aims to predict as accurately as possible the outcome of the 2015 General Election. It combines several sources of information – current national polls, constituency-level polls where they are available, past election results, and information on a variety of constituency characteristics.

The project acknowledges that there is a large amount of uncertainty in the constituency predictions they make, which is why we have used their predicted probability of victory for each party in a constituency to determine whether or not a constituency is ‘close’. The race is considered close if two parties are rated with a greater than 5% chance of victory.

Electionforecast.co.uk has been used by a wide variety of media sources as the basis of their own predictions. Famous US election-predictor Nate Silver has also endorsed their work: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/six-lessons-nate-silver-uk-election/

In Scotland, poll results suggest the race is close in the majority of constituencies – with large swings predicted to the SNP.

For more information on Election Forecast’s methodology see the FAQs on their website – http://www.electionforecast.co.uk/

Why have you not included Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is not included in these election forecasts and scorecards. Election forecasts about Northern Ireland are based on much more limited data. Northern Ireland is allocated 18 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons. Northern Ireland has a different party system than the rest of the UK, and none of the major UK parties have recently won seats there. Political polls of the “UK” are nearly always polls of Great Britain: they exclude Northern Ireland from the sampling frame. There is very little dedicated Northern Irish polling by comparison to the rest of the UK.

Where can I see all this?

All of this information is gathered on one website where 38 Degrees members can input their postcode to find out all the right information for their constituency:

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