Belfast Telegraph

Queen's University app will help you cast election vote

By John Garry and Neil Matthews

Researchers at Queen's University have decided to make life very easy for Northern Ireland voters.

We have spent several weeks poring over the details of the policies of Northern Ireland's political parties.

Using this information, we have generated a user-friendly app, which anyone can freely use to make sense of where they stand on the major issues and where the parties stand.

The app provides you with a score for each party, which represents how close your beliefs are to the beliefs of that party.

So, taking all issues into account, exactly how similar are your views and the views of the DUP?

How close are you to Alliance?

Are you and the SDLP a match made in heaven?

Or is it really the TUV that you most closely match in policy terms?

The app also breaks down the information by policy area.

So you (and each party) are placed on an economic policy scale, going from very Left-wing to very Right-wing, and also a moral policy scale, running from very conservative to very liberal.

It's hard to ignore the ethno-national divide and so you and parties are also placed on a scale running from very unionist to very nationalist.

The app provides you with graphical maps, which make it very easy to see where you are positioned on these ideological dimensions and, crucially, which parties are close to you on the map.

The purpose of the app is not to tell people how to vote.

It's meant to simply provide objective measures of where the parties stand.

Because the app takes into consideration economic and social issues which are not usually prominent in Northern Ireland debates, many voters could be surprised by the party they are matched closest to.

At the end of the day, people vote on the basis of all sorts of reasons and this app focuses on just one: similarity between your views and the parties' views.

If you are using a smartphone or tablet please follow this link

  • Dr John Garry and Dr Neil Matthews are based at the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen's University Belfast.

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