Friday, April 02, 2010

Is Votematch Right?

I now rather regret turning down an invitation from the Votematch people to be on their advisory board. They asked at a time when I just couldn't take on anything else. But I would like to think I might have influenced their questions a little. The problem? I think their algorithms are skewed.

I have taken their test five times now. Four out of the five times I came out decidedly UKIP. It was only when I took it and pretended to be David Cameron that I came out majority Conservative. Even then it was touch and go. I wonder if other Conservatives have found the same.

If you go through the questions, of course there are overlaps between parties, but it seems to be that some answers may have been incorrectly weighted. Even when I answered the test giving what I would call "mainstream Conservative" answers, I still come out as marginally UKIP.

Of course, you may say that perhaps it proves I should vote UKIP! Well, no it doesn't. I think I know enough about Conservatism to know that I am and remain a true Tory. The trouble with Votematch is that within the so-called Conservative coalition, its methodology seems to give too much weight to UKIP.

I hope at this late stage they will take another look at it. It's a fantastic tool and I fully support what they are trying to do, but it's vital that it isn't skewed in a wrong direction.

52 comments:

gavin.porritt said...

My wife who's vacilating between the Lib Dems and Conservatives has now done it twice and came out as UKIP both times, mind you the Greens were her second option on both occasions!

Twig said...

What is it about UKIP's manifesto that you don't like?

Richard Manns said...

I tried it, and I came out neck-and-neck; I think that their questions are more focussed on the headline-grabbing announcements, rather than deeper policy.

There is nothing about the schools reforms of Michael Gove, there is everything about the minutiae, e.g. "cutting NHS bureaucracy by a third"; I want it cut wherever it is possible to do so to model the private sector's efficiency. Who knows if that's a third?

Hythlodaeus said...

Are you sure it's the algorithms that are screwed and not your party? After all, the Tory Party since 2007 or so has moved away from a lot of the traditional Tory stances when it comes to policy.
Could enviro- or euro-skepticism possible be the answer? The Tory Party seems both pro-environment and pro-Europe (albeit with return of some powers), while a lot of Tories don't seem keen on the Environment or Europe.

It worked perfectly for me anyway - Greens, SNP and Lib Dems in high agreement, Tories, Labour, UKIP and BNP in very low agreement.

Neil James said...

Strange I had a go and came out 67% Conservative and 55% UKIP and 45% Labour.

Does that mean I am more conservative than you.

Lasting Designs said...

I have done the same test and got the same UKIP answer, you are not alone Iain.

Michael Heaver said...

Oh come on Iain! It's because you are a lot more right-wing than the Tory Party is at the moment surely? I've been monitoring Twitter and plenty of Tory supporters have been coming out as Conservatives on Vote Match, I do think it works well.

As for me, I came out as UKIP obviously....followed a little too close for my liking as a closet LibDem! Haha. :P

Mr Eugenides said...

I have just done it and came out as a Conservative (so to speak).

Perhaps you need to rejig your answers to show more interest in the environment and equal opportunities (which I put bottom of my priorities) and less interest in tax, defence etc. Do that, and you'll be reclassified as "Conservative" in no time.

Paul said...

I wonder whether UKIP more accurately represent traditional conservative sentiment than Cameron

I am wavering between the two and UKIP pipped the tories in my results which seems about right

AndyR said...

I was 77% UKIP and 56% Con, even though I listed Immigration/Devolution as things I was LEAST interested in.

Norton Folgate said...

Could it be that UKIP are actually what the Tories used to be before they rebranded into the current blue labour, all things to all men, middle ground "New conservatives" ?

Costello said...

Votematch is quite right. Anyone who is genuinely conservative (as opposed to being simply a tribal Conservative) will find themselves matched to UKIP given that UKIP are the only conservative party standing. Every other party (Tories,Lib Dems, BNP, Labour, Greens) are all various platforms for socialism.

Dan Sullivan said...

I think it is completely skewed, I'm posting from Ireland (I used an old Croydon postcode). And it matched me as 67% UKIP, which can't possibly be right and that was with me being opposed to a referendum on British membership of the EU, being broadly favourable the LibDems, and selecting Education and the Economy as the mos important issues.

It needs to go back to Beta testing.

Sic Semper Tyrannis said...

My results were of the order UKIP 80%, Conservative 65%. (Labour 8%, no surprises there!)

I took it to mean that the tory policies had moved away from my own opinions, and UKIP is more traditionally mainstream.

However I'll still be voting Conservative this time, as it's the only chance we've got of getting rid of that idiot Brown.

BlueTechy said...

Being that it's designed in partnership with Goldsmiths University I would be very sceptical of it, have you been to Goldsmiths? The place is run by militant Marxists, it has a fiercely left wing student/staff movement so I would be surprised if there wasn't bias in their thinking.

Lord Palmerston said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who found this. Despite opposing the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and being open minded on whether asylum seekers should work, Votematch put the BNP as the closest match (64%) with the Conservatives second on 63%. Very odd.

Nick said...

It seems a bit skewed. It may be partly due to weightings but Richard Manns may be on to something re the nature of the questions.

I have played about with it a bit putting in a variety of answers and their system also seems to rely on users filtering out the BNP for themselves rather than actually asking questions which differentiate them or get to the crux of why a substantial majority would never vote BNP under any circs.

Paul Halsall said...

I got Green 76%, Labour 72%, Lib Dem 65%. So that seems fair enough.

I would never consider voting Tory, UKIP or BNP

Dan said...

I am a Labour voter and came out Labour but it is heavily skewed to very specific headlines from recent announcements.

Do you think people below £10,000 should stop paying Income Tax is Lib Dem policy, but depending on the details of were the revenue comes from most other voters will agree.

Do you think NHS bureaucracy should be cut by a third, well everyone thinks unnecessary bureaucracy should be cut and if we can make it more than a third good.

Dino Fancellu said...

It put me down as BNP!

Considering that my wife is Chinese it seems like I have to break some news to her...

John R said...

Have you thought that just possibly you might be deluding yourself and that the program is giving you a much more accurate/objective view of where your loyalties ought to lie?

Bill Quango MP said...

You're right. Took it twice and came out UKIP twice on 70%.
I'm not voting for UKIP. If anything I would be a Tory 'wet'.

Q said...

On issues of principle, Iain is aligned with UKIP.

On issues of personal career advancement, Iain is aligned with the Conservatives.

Simples!

Ciraric said...

I came out 69% BNP and 62% Tory.

I nearly cried.

LiberalHammer said...

Like all opinion polls it depends to a large degree how the questions are worded. There is an inherent bias towards more right wing positions (it seems) on the Votematch site, just as politicalcompass is skewed towards the left.

I only compared the 3 main ones - UKIP and the others are not a serious choice come the general election - and came out as 52% Conservative, 42% LibDem!

Blaad said...

Apparently John Prescott comes out as Conservative. Strange that?

David Hadley said...

Perhaps you should try Voter Choice instead?

Hawkeye said...

I came out UKIP as well. I'll be voting tory.

T.I.N.P.V.C. said...

It's accurate - there is nothing conservative about the Conservative Party.

Ian said...

I think the problem with your scores is that at the end it says "choose who you might vote for" and I, like you, clicked UKIP.

But thinking about it I would never vote for UKIP because I know that a vote for them is a vote for Labour through abstaining.

Imagine for a second that UKIP was the main opposition, and Cameron's conservatives were just a minority party. You'd vote UKIP - as they would be the closest party to your views with a chance of winning.

ukipwebmaster said...

Iain,
Welcome aboard!

Antisthenes said...

I heard one comment from a Labour voter when it identified her as a UKIP supporter she said "Oh, maybe I am".

Looking at the comments and if everyone votes as they are identified there is a strong possibility that UKIP will form the next government. For a lot of Conservative voters they will feel that it will not be a bad thing. For Labour that would be the ultimate insult and totally devastating for their moral.

The King of Wrong said...

I had a play around with this last night, by answering only one question and skipping the rest.

It looks like they start by assuming 100% correlation and then removing marks for any disagreements between your views and the manifestos... but since UKIP and the BNP have, basically, just one policy each, unless you vehemently disagree with it ("support unlimited immigration", "the UK should be run by Brussels") you end up with them as the top matches.

Rather poor design...

The King of Wrong said...

@BlueTechy: Ahhh... that would explain why anyone even slightly right-wing gets tagged as belonging in a "far right" party like the BNP.

It seems it's only the Left who classify that way on the basis that "racist=right wing", since by every other criterion the BNP is left-wing, Old Labour, pro-(British-)workers.

Of course, the inability to see that is why they get so confused by how an evil "far-right" party is gathering support in left-wing working-class heartlands.

Fred Blogs said...

I also entered "mainstream" Tory answers and came out with UKIP. When I ever-so-slightly moderated my answers, the answer was LibDem!

I think that the base questions are ok, but the secondary "which do you find most important?" maybe are weighted too heavily.

MikeyP said...

I would like to be a Tory, but UKIP came way ahead of them, and labour hardly figured.

I think I will still hold my nose and vote Tory this time, but unless things improve rapidly it will be UKIP from now on.

Thatsnews said...

I would be happier with it if it did not ask you to match three parties.

If it worked it out blind it would be better, I feel.

longrun2 said...

I tried it and found several questions so ill-defined that I had to skip or put "open-mind". Most of the problem is the selection of questions, nothing openly racist that would separate out BNP from the rest, hardly anything on tax apart from one headline in the LibDem proposal, nothing on actually equipping the army to fight in Afghanistan ...
Also the Conservative and Labour policies that were quoted did not always relate to that question but to something that they, not I, consider to be equivalent.
At least it's better than the US one that pretended to look at my views and then told me to vote for Hillary! [If she was standing against Pat Robertson or the late unlamented George Wallace I'd find a Third Party candidate].

United Kingdom Independence Party said...

Oh what a shame Iain's a UKIP supporter, could have been worse I suppose it could have come up BNP.

Seriously though so you don't like the result 5 times, so blame the set up.

Mine was overwhelmingly UKIP which is correct. Lets face many have said the Tories in reality are split 50/50 on many of their policies, which would push them towards UKIP, but to suggest these people have rigged it is frankly bonkers.

But then we know Call me 'Dave's' supporters have got to be a tad bonkers to believe he can save the world.

United Kingdom Independence Party said...

Oh what a shame Iain's a UKIP supporter, could have been worse I suppose it could have come up BNP.

Seriously though so you don't like the result 5 times, so blame the set up.

Mine was overwhelmingly UKIP which is correct. Lets face many have said the Tories in reality are split 50/50 on many of their policies, which would push them towards UKIP, but to suggest these people have rigged it is frankly bonkers.

But then we know Call me 'Dave's' supporters have got to be a tad bonkers to believe he can save the world.

United Kingdom Independence Party said...

Oh what a shame Iain's a UKIP supporter, could have been worse I suppose it could have come up BNP.

Seriously though so you don't like the result 5 times, so blame the set up.

Mine was overwhelmingly UKIP which is correct. Lets face many have said the Tories in reality are split 50/50 on many of their policies, which would push them towards UKIP, but to suggest these people have rigged it is frankly bonkers.

But then we know Call me 'Dave's' supporters have got to be a tad bonkers to believe he can save the world.

kasou said...

69 % BNP 62 % UKIP 37% Tory.

Hmmmm. And thought I was true Blue.

Shall try again and include Labour.

Twig said...

Maybe this is the way to go, don't vote for politicians, vote for policies.

Benny said...

I got UKIP and my answers were pro-Europe.

Antisthenes said...

That's alright Benny under nondiscrimination law UKIP can't stop you becoming a member.

Battersea Boy said...

Although a life-long Conservative, former Councillor and Deputy Agent, my score comes out as UKIP 61%, LibDem 53% and Conservative 47%!

So, have I changed? Or is it just that the current Conservative Party leadership no longer believe in taking a principled stand on issues of personal freedom coupled with taking individual responsibility for one's actions,, defence of the realm and a sound economy?

Something doesn't seem quite right, here.

mhayworth said...

Come on all you Tories. You can't honestly believe that your party has even an ounce of conservatism left in it. You voted on policy - of which UKIP has many more than you care to admit. It isn't the weighting guys...but good try!

Osama the Nazarene said...

I absolutely agree with you. It must be the way their algorithms are skewed. I have also come out as a UKIP supporter (and would be tempted to vote for them if I thought I would not be wasting my vote) but what surprised me was that I came out as more Green (& BNP) than than Coservative. At the time of the Euro Elections everyone I know who tried their site came out Green.


Idea good execution poor!

troymolloy said...

As a lifelong conservative whose primary interest is in our constitutional history and all nations' right to self-determination, I was not surprised that the current Conservative party came out second-best to UKIP for me. What did surprise me though is that my match with the Tories was only 39%.

Charles said...

Sounds like "United Kingdom Independence Party" only has one point to make and keeps on banging on after the rest of us stopped listening...

LOL :)

The Remittance Man said...

Iain,

You consider yourself to be a true Tory. Fine, I guess nobody can dispute that. The question you need to ask, however, is this:

As it currently stands, is the Conservative Party representative of true tories?

Jay said...

Another Tory who has gotten a UKIP result here. Both fairly level for me though, and miles ahead of Lab on 8%.

I'd have to agree with Richard Manns. I voted the opposite way to party policy on Welsh Assembly powers, but then the local party seems to have moved more Pro-Assembly of late as well so not sure if the outcome from that is really accurate.