Friday 26th May – Voter registration is now closed, the polls are narrowing and the Vote Smart tool, developed by Progressive Alliance, is active online to help people back progressives to beat the Conservatives in key marginal seats.
Vote Smart has been developed by a team of technologists, data analysts and social media strategists, with input from senior staff previously working on the Bernie Sanders campaign.
The tool recommends a tactical vote in constituencies in which the difference between the total number of combined progressive votes and the number of Conservative votes is 10% or less.
Alisdair Blackwell, a former Head of Technology, at digital start-ups Everledger and Decoded, as well as the lead developer of the Vote Smart tool said:
“This is the most powerful tactical voter tool ever produced for a UK election. We know from previous experience that elections can be decided by just a handful of voters in each constituency.
“With the polls narrowing and the election campaign coming into sharper focus the tool will assist progressive voters to make the smart choice and support the best placed candidate to defeat the conservatives.”
Former analyst for several international companies and now an analyst for Compass, Roger Wilson explains:
“Our model takes the data from the 2015 General Election and we can observe the seats where progressive parties are within spitting distance of the Conservatives.
“We know from the Richmond by-election last December, where at one point the traditional polls gave a 27% lead to the then MP Zac Goldsmith, that the progressive vote is holding in key marginals and can be rallied around a clear challenger to the Conservatives
“Uniform national swing no longer applies like it once did. 2015 contained a number of outliers which weren't as easily predicted... there were 50 seats won by the Conservatives in 2015 which had a larger combined progressive vote”
Progressive Alliance has identified 31 target seats for this campaign. In some of these there is a formal progressive alliance between parties, some have informal agreements where parties won't actively compete with one another and others have candidates who support electoral reform and cooperation between progressive parties.
With the Tories polling lead cut in half, according to Monday's Survation telephone poll, tactical votes will be decisive at this election.
Frances Foley, campaign manager for Progressive Alliance, said:
“Across the country we've seen 41 progressive alliances formed at the grassroots. This is a historic achievement and the seeds of non-tribal, collaborative politics have been planted.
“Our attention now turns to stopping the Tories and building a progressive majority in 31 seats across England and Wales.”
Cutting through online
The ambitious ground campaign will be backed up by a digital campaign that looks to apply lessons from previous tactical vote campaigns to reach swing voters.
Jana Mills, social media strategist and director of Small Axe, a non-profit campaigns consultancy working for Progressive Alliance, said:
“We've seen this campaign take off on social media. All over the country people are coming together across old party lines and working together to win. People aren't waiting for central office to tell them what to do.
“They are finding new ways to do politics and resetting our broken system.
“Minds will concentrate over the next two weeks as polling cards arrive, leaflets are dropped and activity ramps up. It's in this window that voters will be considering their options.
“Our plan is to cut through the noise on social to reach the 8% of people who vote tactically”