Election expert John Curtice and Strathclyde University team develop Holyrood poll tool

Election expert John Curtice and Strathclyde University team develop Holyrood poll tool
The Herald, by Stewart Paterson


Academics in Glasgow have developed a tool to help voters decide which party they should vote for in the Holyrood election.


Professor John Curtice and his team at Strathclyde University match answers to questions on a range of policies to statements and speeches of leaders from six parties standing in the election.


Voters are asked their preferences on 30 statements on key election topics.


The questions cover education, environment, Trident, the EU, policing, independence and devolution, refugees and immigration, employment, tax and spending, welfare and the NHS.


Respondents are asked if they completely agree, agree, neither agree or disagree disagree, completely disagree or no opinion.


For example the first question is “A group of parents should be able to set up a new school and have it funded by the government.”


The tool then calculates which party policy you are most in tune with giving a score for compatibility with the SNP, Labour, Conservatives, LibDems, Greens and Ukip.


Scores range from plus 100 to minus 100


A score of over 40 is strong level of agreement below 40 is weak and below zero is a negative match.


Professor Curtice, said: “During the next month of campaigning, voters will be presented with a myriad of policy announcements from the parties and multiple claims as why they should vote one way or the other.


“The Voter Guidance Tool is designed to help them sort through the mass of claim and counter-claim and ascertain in a matter of minutes how closely the policy positions of the parties match their own views.


“Of course, in the end voters will make up their own minds about which way to vote, and in so doing may well take into account considerations apart from the policy positions of the parties. But we hope that many will find this tool helpful in making a decision that will be crucial to Scotland’s future.”


The tool is available at www.scotvote16.com