Frequently asked questions

Who are you and why are you doing this?

We are Thoughtplay Ltd - a privately held UK company - but we run the site in our spare time. The research is by Paul Lenz, coding by Andrew Chapman and design by Helen Chapman. In the run up to the 2005 UK General Election we were frustrated by the difficulty with which voters could get a clear view on specific party policies without having to wade through lengthy, tedious manifestos. In response we created whoshouldyouvotefor.com - the first widely used voter comparison site in the world. The quiz was taken by over one million people in the three weeks running up to the election, and was the Hitwise-verified most popular political website in the country. We received press attention in five continents and were interviewed by radio stations are far afield as Japan and Australia. We have since created similar quizzes for the 2010 UK election, US Presidential elections and other political events. Over the last ten years numerous similar sites have been created for elections around the world, driven in part we hope by the success and awareness of our original site.

What is the aim of the site?

The aim of this site is to provide voters in the 2015 UK general election with a simple tool to see how the policies of the main parties represent their views. While this site is not pursuing any political agenda we would obviously urge all users to research the issues in greater detail themselves before making their final voting choice. (The site also has other quizzes aimed at improving understanding of political ideas.)

Why haven't you included parties from Wales or Northern Ireland?

With regret, we have not had the resources to pursue these versions this year - we run the site in our spare time and have not managed to gather sufficient information from the parties to make these versions accurate. So far, only one person has complained, suggesting demand is low!

Are you affiliated with any political party?

Definitely not. We are not members of or activists for any political party or movement. We have not received any payment from any political party, organization or individual to create the site.

How do I use the site?

Select how much you agree or disagree with each of the statements made. You should only select a 'strongly' option if this is an issue that you care deeply about - we wouldn't expect many users to select more than seven or eight 'strongly' options. The site will then compare your feelings on the statements made with the policy statements of the main parties, and suggest which party you should vote for based on a points system which scores your result.

How does the scoring system work?

Each opinion you give will score between -9 and 9 points for each political party, depending on how closely your views reflect theirs. The points for each opinion are totalled, and the party which gets the highest score is the one recommended to you. The number of points allocated to each party for each opinion statement is clearly key to this survey. The allocation of points has been based, wherever possible, on clear policy statements from the parties concerned. Where a clear policy statement has does not exist, a judgment is made based on similar policies, speeches or statements of general philosophy.

How do you ensure that the site is not biased?

Objective question selection: wherever possible we have sought to select questions where there are clear, defined policy demarcations between the parties where no possible subjective interpretation of a party's position is required. In some instances, where there isn't a clear party policy position on a question point we then refer to speeches and related policy statements to take a position on the party's view. Where there is a lack of clarity then we will simply give a party a flat 'neutral' weighting.
Transparency of mechanics and scoring: Our mechanics and calculation system have been described above, we having nothing to hide in terms of how the results are calculated.
Fairness of question selection: We have attempted to include questions on/relating to the flagship policies of the main political parties (with the caveat that when we have drilled down into the detail of the policy it does appear to be materially different from what one or more of the other parties are pledging to do). More details on how we select the topic areas and question selection are given below under 'UK 2015 general election quiz information'.
Language neutrality: We have attempted to balance the phrasing of the questions to ensure that there is not a positive bias towards any one particular party - in other words replying 'yes' to all of the questions will not materially favour one party of the others. This is to avoid any possible claims that there might be inherent response bias. (Note: at the pre-manifesto stage this process is less precise, but this will improve as the range of issues/questions increases.)

I believe that you are misrepresenting the position of a political party: what can I do?

If you are a private citizen with no connection with a political party, then nothing. Parties are big enough and ugly enough to look after themselves, and if they believe that we have got something wrong (and indeed care sufficiently) then we are sure that they will get in touch. Further to this point, if a political party feels that we are misrepresenting them on a particular issue, please would an official party spokesperson contact us directly - via email in the first instance as the origin can be verified - including a contact landline number. We would be happy to discuss with your objection, and how you believe your policy should be represented, provided you are prepared to substantiate the position on the record.

Do you run any other sites?

Yes, we run the crowdsourced book recommendation site WhatShouldIReadNext.com - it has been used more than 20 million times since we launched it. Why not check it out?

UK 2015 general election quiz information

Note - unless a party has explicitly stated (or been credibly reported) that it intends to make a change it has been presumed that they would retain policies of the existing government.

Tax, employment and the economy

A 50% rate of tax should be introduced for top earners
• The Labour Party would re-introduce the 50% rate for earnings above £150,000 per year (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto)
• The Green Party would introduce a 60% rate for top earners (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html) - this higher rate than Labour gives them a higher points score on this issue.
• The Conservative Party would not introduce a 50% tax rate.
• The Liberal Democrats would not introduce a 50% tax rate.
• The UK Independence Party would not introduce a 50% tax rate.
• The Scottish National Party would not introduce a 50% tax rate (See: http://opinion.publicfinance.co.uk/2015/02/new-jim-murphy-takes-labour-leftwards/ and also http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/war-words-over-top-rate-5221588 - no clear intent signaled to support 50% rate introduction).

A 'mansion tax' or similar tax on wealth, rather than earnings should NOT be introduced
• The Labour Party would introduce a Mansion Tax on all properties worth over £2m. (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto)
• The Green Party would introduce a 2% annual tax on people with assets of more than £3m. (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html)
• The Conservative Party would not introduce a wealth tax.
• The Liberal Democrats would introduce a Mansion Tax on all properties worth over £2m. (http://www.libdems.org.uk/mansion-tax)
• The UK Independence Party would not introduce a wealth tax.
• The Scottish National Party would not introduce a wealth tax (though would seek to increase sales taxes on more expensive properties - http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/09/scottish-government-mansion-tax - this only at the point of sale, not on ownership).

The income tax rate paid on earnings of between £42,000 & £50,000 per year should be reduced
• The Labour Party would not reduce the income tax rate paid on earnings of between £42,000 & £50,000.
• The Green Party would not reduce the income tax rate paid on earnings of between £42,000 & £50,000.
• The Conservative Party would increase the threshold for the 40% tax rate from £42,385 per year to £50,000 per year (https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto).
• The Liberal Democrats would not reduce the income tax rate paid on earnings of between £42,000 & £50,000.
• The UK Independence Party would reduce the tax rate on earnings of between £42,000 and £55,000 from 40% to 35% (http://www.ukip.org/patrick_o_flynn_lays_out_ukip_s_economic_plan)
• The Scottish National Party would not reduce the income tax rate paid on earnings of between £42,000 & £50,000.

(Why no question about the level at which people start to pay tax? Well, broadly the parties are aligned that people at the lower end of the wage scale should take home more money. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats would increase the personal tax allowance from £10,000 per year to £12,500. UKIP would increase it to £13,500. Labour would re-introduce the 10p tax band, and the Green Party supports reducing taxes for lower earners).

The minimum wage should be increased to at least £8.00 per hour (it is currently £6.50 an hour for those aged 21 and over) by 2020
• The Labour Party would increase the minimum wage to £8 per hour by 2020 (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto).
• The Green Party would increase the minimum wage to £10 per hour by 2020 (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html) - receive higher score due to higer targer wage rate.
• The Conservative Party say that they accept the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission: 'that the National Minimum Wage should rise to £6.70 the autumn, on course for a Minimum Wage that will be over £8 by the end of the decade.' - not a commitment to specifically deliver, more a broader intent, hence a lower score (https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto).
• The Liberal Democrats would not increase the minimum wage to £8 per hour by 2020 - in their manifesto they state: 'Ask the Low Pay Commission to look at ways of raising the National Minimum Wage, without damaging employment opportunities.'
• The UK Independence Party would not increase the minimum wage to £8 per hour by 2020.
• The Scottish National Party would increase the minimum wage to £8.70 an hour by 2020 (http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/apr/swinney-launches-snp-jobs-manifesto)

The threshold for inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners should be increased to £1m
• The Labour Party would not increase the threshold for inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners to £1m.
• The Green Party would not increase the threshold for inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners to £1m. (they would make some changes to the inheritance tax system ' We would make the level of the tax depend on the wealth of the recipient, not the donor, so that all bequests to individual recipients who have less than £200,000 would be tax free. This would encourage people to spread their wealth more widely.')
• The Conservative Party would increase the inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners to £1m (https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto_
• The Liberal Democrats would not increase the threshold for inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners to £1m.
• The UK Independence Party would abolish inheritance tax (http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people) hence the higher scoring on this question.
• The Scottish National Party would not increase the threshold for inheritance tax for married couples and civil partners to £1m.

The rate of corporation tax should NOT be increased from 20% to 30%
• The Labour Party would not increase the rate of corporation tax from 20% to 30%.
• The Green Party would increase corporation tax from 20% to 30%
• The Conservative Party would not increase the rate of corporation tax from 20% to 30%.
• The Liberal Democrats would not increase the rate of corporation tax from 20% to 30%.
• The UK Independence Party would not increase the rate of corporation tax from 20% to 30%.
• The Scottish National Party would not increase the rate of corporation tax from 20% to 30%.

The non-domiciled status ('non-doms') should be abolished so that all those who make the UK their home pay their tax in the same way
• The Labour Party would abolish the non-dom status (http://www.labour.org.uk/blog/entry/labours-plan-to-abolish-non-dom-tax-rules-six-things-you-need-to-know).
• The Green Party would abolish the non-dom status. (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html)
• The Conservative Party would not abolish the non-dom status.
• The Liberal Democrats would not abolish the non-dom status.
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would not abolish the non-dom status.
• The Scottish National Party would not renew the Trident nuclear deterrent

Benefits and Poverty

The underoccupancy penalty (better known as the 'Bedroom Tax') should be retained
• The Labour Party would abolish the Bedroom Tax (http://www.labour.org.uk/issues/detail/bedroom-tax).
• The Green Party would abolish the Bedroom Tax (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html).
• The Conservative Party would not abolish the Bedroom Tax
• The Liberal Democrats support reform, but not abolition, of the Bedroom Tax (http://www.libdems.org.uk/get_the_facts_bedroom_tax_reform).
• The UK Independence Party would abolish the Bedroom Tax (http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people).
• The Scottish National Party would abolish the Bedroom Tax (http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/mar/snp-promise-no-let-opposition-bedroom-tax) Law and Order

People possessing drugs for personal use should NOT be sent to prison
• The Labour Party would would continue to send some people to prison for possessing drugs for personal use.
• The Green Party would not send people caught possessing drugs for personal use to prison (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html).
• The Conservative Party would continue to send some people to prison for possessing drugs for personal use.
• The Liberal Democrats would not send people caught possessing drugs for personal use to prison (http://www.libdems.org.uk/uk_drug_laws_need_radical_change).
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would continue to send some people to prison for possessing drugs for personal use.
• The Scottish National Party have not made a statement to the contrary therefore we have to assume that they would continue to send some people to prison for possessing drugs for personal use.

Elected police commissioners should be retained
• The Labour Party would not retain elected police commissioners (http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/sep/21/labour-would-replace-fundamentally-flawed-elected-commissioners)
• The Green Party would would not retain elected police commissioners.
• The Conservative Party would retain elected police commissioners
• The Liberal Democrats would not retain elected police commissioners (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/liberaldemocrats/11088228/Lib-Dems-u-turn-on-Police-and-Crime-Commissioners.html)
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would retain elected police commissioners
• These roles do not exist in Scotland, so no scoring will be applied from this question to them.

Constitution and Democracy

The voting age should NOT be reduced to 16
• The Labour Party would reduce the voting age to 16 (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto).
• The Green Party would reduce the voting age to 16 (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html).
• The Conservative Party would not reduce the voting age to 16.
• The Liberal Democrats would reduce the voting age to 16 (Voting age - Parliament UK).
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would not reduce the voting age to 16.
• The Scottish National Party would reduce the voting age to 16 (http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2014/oct/majority-back-16-and-17-year-olds-future-voting)

The current House of Lords should be abolished and replaced with an elected second chamber
• The Labour Party would abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected second chamber (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto)
• The Green Party would abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected second chamber (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html)
• The Conservative Party would retain the House of Lords.
• The Liberal Democrats would abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected second chamber (http://www.libdems.org.uk/nick_clegg_statement_on_lords_reform).
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would retain the House of Lords.
• The Scottish National Party would abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected second chamber(http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2015/jan/snp-debate-end-absurd-house-lords)

Defence, Foreign Policy and Immigration

The UK should spend at least 0.7% (the current level) of GDP on foreign aid
• The Labour Party would spend spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid.
• The Green Party would spend spend at 1% of GDP on foreign aid (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html).
• The Conservative Party would spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid
• The Liberal Democrats would spend spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid.
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would reduce the foreign aid budget by £9bn per year (http://www.ukip.org/policies_for_people)
• The Scottish National Party would spend 0.7% of GDP on foreign aid

The UK should NOT renew the Trident nuclear deterrent
• The Labour Party would renew the Trident nuclear deterrent
• The Green Party would not renew the Trident nuclear deterrent (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html)
• The Conservative Party would renew the Trident nuclear deterrent
• The Liberal Democrats would renew the Trident nuclear deterrent
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would renew the Trident nuclear deterrent
• The Scottish National Party would not renew the Trident nuclear deterrent

A referendum should be held on Britain's EU membership
• The Labour Party would not hold a referendum on Britain?s EU membership (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto)
• The Green Party would hold a referendum on Britain?s EU membership (http://greenparty.org.uk/news/yes-to-an-eu-referendum-green-mp-calls-for-chance-to-build-a-better-europe.html).
• The Conservative Party would hold a referendum on Britain?s EU membership (https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto).
• The Liberal Democrats would hold a referendum on Britain?s EU membership (http://www.libdems.org.uk/europe_referendum_reform).
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would not hold a referendum on Britain?s EU membership.
• The Scottish National Party would not hold a referendum on Britain?s EU membership

Britain should leave the EU directly, without holding a referendum
• The Labour Party disagrees.
• The Green Party disagrees.
• The Conservative Party disagrees.
• The Liberal Democrats disagrees.
• The United Kingdom Independence Party agrees (http://www.ukip.org/issues)
• The Scottish National Party disagrees.

Health, Education, Transport and Society

All teachers working the state sector should have a teaching qualification
• The Labour Party agrees (http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto).
• The Green Party makes no manifesto commitment on this point.
• The Conservative Party disagrees.
• The Liberal Democrats agrees (http://www.libdems.org.uk/a_qualified_teacher_for_every_child).
• The United Kingdom Independence Party has not stated that it would change existing policy.

The planned High Speed Two (HS2) rail link should continue as planned
• The Labour Party does agree
• The Green Party does not agree (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html)
• The Conservative Party agrees
• The Liberal Democrats agrees
• The United Kingdom Independence Party does not agree (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/10597408/Nigel-Farage-Skint-Britain-cannot-afford-HS2.html)
• The Scottish National Party agrees http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/nov/uk-gov-must-back-hs2-scotland

The fuel-duty escalator, increasing petrol/diesel costs by an additional £2.2bn every year for five years, should NOT be re-introduced
• The Labour Party would not re-introduce the fuel duty escalator
• The Green Party would re-introduce the fuel duty escalator (https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html)
• The Conservative Party would not re-introduce the fuel duty escalator.
• The Liberal Democrats would not re-introduce the fuel duty escalator
• The United Kingdom Independence Party would not re-introduce the fuel duty escalator.
• The SNP would not re-introduce the fuel duty escalator.

Experience of Government

It is important for a political party to have experience of government either as a single majority party or as part of a coalition
• The Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and the Conservative party have this experience, the other parties do not