UK 2010: the straight choice


A fantastic online innovation in the UK general election campaign is The Straight Choice website. This website allows voters to upload reasonably high quality photos of election leaflets to the website, tag them for the party who produced the leaflet, where it was sent, when it arrived, what issues are mentioned and what other parties are attacked. The website has now posted over 1400 leaflets, with the number rising quickly now that the election campaign is heating up. It is a treasure trove of election materials for any psephologist interested in the UK election campaign. When browsing through the leaflets, you notice how many times a leaflet is focused on the “we can win here” message. While briefly skimming through the website I found a bunch of leaflets from various parties using bar graphs and other mechanisms to argue that a vote for a particular party is not a wasted vote (or in some cases argue that a vote for another party will be counterproductive), including:

My favourite arguments for tactical voting, however, have to come from Brighton Pavilion, where Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and a Conservative candidate are both strong challengers to the Labour incumbent. The Labour leaflet shows the results of the 2005 election. While the Green Party have produced a leaflet showing the Greens coming first in Brighton at the European elections, they also have a remarkable leaflet arguing that left-wing voters should vote Green because the bookies say the Greens will win, and that voters shouldn’t “back a loser”.

The last word, however, has to go to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate in Croydon Central:

“We should have a diverse, tolerant, pluralistic and democratic society in which there is mutual respect for a wide range of different views, cultures and lifestyles. Anybody who dares to suggest otherwise should be ruthlessly exterminated.”

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  1. Judging by the date of that last Green Party leaflet it was obviously put out to coincide with the Grand National, the UK’s biggest horse race, which was run last Saturday.

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