Monday, March 14, 2005
Guide to election websites
As a special service to readers of this blog, here is your handy cut-out-and-keep guide to election websites.
The forthcoming general election is already generating a torrent of web content. In practice, and unless you like reading self-serving propaganda, there are few sites of any real value.
If you bookmark only one election website, it should be Election 2005, a portal recently set up by Richard Kimber at my Alma Mater, the University of Keele. Here in one place are links to all the sites you're likely to need during the campaign. Some of you may already be familiar with Kimber's well-established Political Science Resources portal, so this new election portal comes with a strong pedigree.
My second recommendation is the Political Betting site. This is run by Mike Smithson (who happens to be a Lib Dem) as a non-partisan service for those who like a flutter on the election result. But it is more than this, and has proved over the past year to be by far the best source of intelligence on political trends, with supporters of all parties chipping in with comments. You may have to wade through some political anorak stuff and a lot of off-topic banter, nevertheless there are some real nuggets in here.
Third is UK Polling Report, which will keep you updated on each opinion poll as it appears. This site is run by Anthony Wells, who happens to be a Tory but is also an expert on opinion polls. Read this site in conjunction with Anthony's blog - his insights on the rival polling companies' methodologies will help you untangle the truth behind each poll.
Fourth is Vote 2005, a forum for election predictions for each individual constituency. Many of the comments have been posted by eager Young Tories and generate more heat than light, but anyone with any critical faculties should be able to read between the lines. I suspect many journalists will go here for some 'informed comment' so, if you feel your constituency is being misrepresented, it may be worth adding your own comments.
Finally, the BBC is gathering together its pre-election political coverage in its Road to the Election news portal. This is likely to be superseded by a proper election news portal once the election is formally called.