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General election 2024

Frequently asked questions

How are the results calculated?

See our method page for the detailed rules.

Why are the results different to another tactical voting list I saw?

There are many different ways that you could potentially work out the 'best' tactical vote in each constituency, and many different factors to take into account. Each list and site circulating uses a slightly different method, but we believe our method meets these key criteria:

What's important here is that the same rules are applied to every seat. We apply any changes to the method to all constituencies, not one rule for some and a different rule for others. There are some 'special case' rules, but we aim to avoid the potential bias of making calls on a seat-by-seat basis.

Why not base tactical voting on the latest opinion polls?

We do not base our recommendations on polling (with one exception – see below). We understand why people send us polls, especially particularly striking ones – but a striking poll is even more likely to be an outlier. Polls generally fluctuate by a surprising amount during an election period.

Some people claim that you can now use 'super-accurate' MRP polling to predict voting and so make the right tactical voting calls – but this led to chaos in 2019, because every time the polls moved, polling-based tactical voting sites changed dozens of recommendations from one party to another and then another!

Stability over time is important in tactical voting, to be able to campaign and spread the word, but polls are inherently unstable – the recommendations given a week before the election end up being far too different to the recommendations on election day. This causes too much confusion.

The one role for polls in tactical.vote's rules is that if a particular constituency recommendation is consistently contradicted by multiple independent, high-quality polls, especially as election day gets closer, we will switch it to 'Not Sure'.

What about the surge of local support for such-and-such candidate?

We are not going to change recommendations based on anecdotes from campaigners about how well a particular candidate is doing or not doing 'on the doorstep' – we believe our recommendations need to be based on hard data about actual votes, not speculation. While we understand that people want to offer their local experience, accepting it would open us up to lobbying from political party representatives as well as arbitrary decision-making.

Many emails we receive in this vein are easily traced as being from local campaigners for particular parties. We will never take this 'data' into account. As an extra step to avoid such lobbying, our rule is that if we do change a recommendation, we will only change it to 'Not Sure'.

With that said, if you are unbiased and you feel certain that what we are saying in your area is incorrect, we encourage you to email feedback@tactical.vote

What about a formula that takes into account previous general elections, local council results, polling, the chance of rain on election day, etc etc?

It's tempting to imagine that some kind of 'super-formula' with as many data points as possible would give more accurate recommendations – but there is no evidence for this. Including (for example) the previous five general elections would make your results less accurate, not more accurate. (You could try this out by averaging out election results from 2001-2017 and seeing how poorly this would have performed in 2019.)

Worse, the arbitrary nature and weighting of an 'everything model' would make it very easy to manipulate to produce a particular set of results, similar to the cherry-picked bar charts that frequently appear on parties' own leaflets. Our simple method, in contrast, can be reproduced by anyone who wants to double check it.

I don't want to vote for the party you've recommended

The point of this website isn't to list who we'd like to win in each constituency, but who we believe is most likely to defeat the Tories – the best tactical vote. You may not want to vote for a particular party because you do not like a policy or a candidate that they have put forward – that is up to you, but in that case you are not 'voting tactically', you are just 'voting'. Of course, if it even needs to be said, your vote is entirely your decision.

Don't you risk adding to a landslide result? You should campaign for a hung parliament.

It is not possible to 'campaign for a hung parliament'. This would mean deliberately campaigning for the Tories to do better and progressive parties to do worse, in order to possibly hand a smaller party the balance of power. Since no one can know the election result in advance, which would be necessary in order to judge how many seats we should deliberately lose (!), this is an absurdly risky strategy that, if it became popular, could let the Tories back in.

There have been two hung parliaments in recent years and neither had a progressive result: the 2010 hung parliament led to the formation of the Conservative/Lib Dem coalition, while the 2017 hung parliament led to a Tory minority government. Neither led to the dawn of proportional representation or other benefits that will supposedly flow from a hung parliament.

Do we risk 'adding to a landslide'? We look at this from the other direction: we want to absolutely maximise the number of Tory seats lost. We want the Tory party reduced to as close to zero MPs as possible. We say that every single Tory seat lost is a win for progressives – and an added assurance against a quick Tory return.

Anyone who tells you that they are 'campaigning for a hung parliament' is a dangerous charlatan.

The Tories don't stand in my constituency

We're only aware of this being the case in Northern Ireland seats. In that case, we have considered which parties would and would not support a Tory government in a confidence vote. This boils down to tactical voting against the DUP, which propped up the Tory government through a confidence-and-supply arrangement after the 2017 election.

I think you've got it wrong!

Let us know on feedback@tactical.vote if you see a result that you think is wrong. If you make an argument that's covered in the FAQ above then we won't change the result, but in the past people have spotted errors caused either by software bugs or recent changes in the situation in the seat, so do tell us if something doesn't look right.

Who runs this site? Who funds it?

This is a project from the Tactical Voting Coalition, a grassroots group of tactical voting campaigners. We are funded by donations to our crowdfunder, which we plan to relaunch between now and the election.

We are registered with the Electoral Commission and will file all the required returns, and we are committed to the highest standards of ethics in complying with the rules and in which donations we will accept. Don't worry – anti-Tory tactical voting does not attract dodgy money!

Can I help?

If you can afford to donate even a small amount once the crowdfunder relaunches it would be very helpful. Donations will be spent on improving the site and promoting tactical voting as widely as possible.

You could also volunteer your time. Whether your skills are in coding/tech, design/illustration or media/social media, we'd love to hear from you - email feedback@tactical.vote

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