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What the candidates really think: TheyWorkForYou database goes live

Yesterday we reported how online election scrutiny projects could really come back to haunt candidates once elected, as bloggers and developers collect detailed information on promises and claims made in the run-up to 6 May.

Well, one of those powerful tools is now live. The non-partisan Democracy Club sent out questionnaires to as many prospective parliamentary candidates as possible, and they have received over 1,000 replies. About one third of PPCs have responded; follow the response rate here.

As the Guardian reports, of the three main parties, the Conservatives have been the least responsive, with candidates unwilling to publicly declare a personal position on specific local and national issues.  Only 6 per cent of 616 invites had been answered at the time of writing.

Those answers have been compiled into a database, available here:

Answer each question with your own view, and you will find out what the candidates (who responded) stand.

There’s a project FAQ here at this link, but we also asked developer Tim Green for a bit more information:

Did the candidates answer most questions?

Candidates have to answer all questions to submit. Some had a problem with this.

Where are the gaps?

You’ll notice from the chart that the Conservatives don’t seem to like it. Most of the ones I’ve been in email contact with don’t seem to like the idea of being forced to go clearly on record with other candidates, and would rather contact each constituent individually even if it actually means fewer people hear about them, which I find a bit odd.

Will you be doing any statistical analysis with the data?

We’ve had some interest from academics on working out the political breakdown implied by the survey results. I’m really looking forward to it! The low Conservative response may make this harder, but we hope it’ll be possible anyway.

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