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Academics play key role in ‘Game Changer’ political survey

University academics play key role in ‘Game Changer’ political survey

Two University of Auckland academics have played a key role in establishing Vote Compass, an interactive on-line tool for voters to use in the 2014 General Election.

The University has joined the TVNZ and Vote Compass partnership that will see One News - with support from the Electoral Commission - host the interactive on-line tool that allows voters to engage with public policy in a way they’ve never done before.

Associate Professor Jennifer Lees-Marshment of the University’s Department of Politics and International Relations, and political psychologist Dr Danny Osborne of the School of Psychology, have been assisting TVNZ by formatting the survey questions to ensure a robust and accurate survey of voters’ thoughts on election issues such as the economy, education, health, the environment and taxation.

Once the user has completed the on-line questions, Vote Compass compares their responses with the policy positions of the parties then shows how they fit in New Zealand’s political landscape.

Already 84,000 people have completed the on-line tool.

Dr Jennifer Lees-Marshment said: "It's giving those people a chance to have their voices directly heard on issues that normally would not get the light of day in an election campaign.

"They [political parties] might be a little bit nervous first of all because it is a game changer."

She told TV One’s Breakfast the tool is not about telling people how to vote. "We're just saying have a think. Think about the policies, debate them with your family and your friends and colleagues and get engaged and tell us what you think about it."

Dr Danny Osborne says Vote Compass “provides voters with a quick, easy and interactive tool for identifying where they sit on critical election issues relative to most of the political parties running in this election.

“Vote Compass helps voters navigate through the often complex political landscape of New Zealand politics. As such, we hope that the website will provide New Zealanders with a tool that helps them stay engaged with the political process.”

Vote Compass was created by academics from the University of Toronto and first launched in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) for the 2011 Canadian Federal Election.

It has since been used as part of the 2012 US Presidential election and the 2013 Australian Federal Election.

Take part here: onenews.co.nz/votecompass

Learn more about Vote Compass here

For a detailed review of the Vote Compass methodology, visit www.votecompass.com


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