If only people did vote for policies..
.. and checked how the parties matched up to their views, we'd be doing rather well. The gorgeously-coded Vote For Policies has been running a week or so now, and more than 25,000 people have picked blind from six parties' policy positions - Labour, Tory, LibDem, Green, BNP & UKIP.
Despite the caveat that this is a self-selected group who've visited the website, the headline position is inspiring enough at the top end:
And it's not just the Green membership voting - Twitter is full of people who've taken the questionnaire and are surprised about how Green-minded they are (examples 1, 2, 3)
During the week the founders then added breakdowns for the nine policy areas chosen, where obviously there's a lot of Green going on. In fact, we come top on seven out of nine areas, including areas where one might not expect us to: crime, immigration, health & education, for instance. Labour are currently squeaking past us on Europe policy, and the Lib Dems put us into second on the economy.
Last place in each policy area is always the BNP or UKIP (bear in mind it's just policy text people see, so theoretically stripping away preconceptions). On immigration, pleasingly, the BNP have the least popular position, followed by UKIP and the Lib Dems: it transpires these people actually want Britain to welcome immigrants and asylum seekers!
On democracy (really reform, I suppose), there's another interesting split. There's three generally popular positions: ours, then the LibDems', then Labour's, scoring just over 30% down to just below 25% in that order. Then there are three notably less popular position: the BNP's, the Tories' and UKIP's, from just over 7% to just under 6%. No wonder the public haven't been trusted with a PR referendum yet.
Those positionings in full..
Green. 1st = 7, 2nd = 2
Labour. 1st = 1, 2nd = 2, 3rd = 3, 4th = 2, 5th = 1.
LibDem. 1st = 1, 2nd = 2, 3rd = 3, 4th = 1, 5th = 2.
Tory. 2nd = 3, 3rd = 1, 4th = 1, 5th = 4.
UKIP. 3rd = 1, 4th = 3, 5th = 2, 6th = 3.
BNP. 3rd = 1, 4th = 2, 6th = 6
Tory strategists will probably like this least - it's pretty clear that, at least as far as respondents to this questionnaire go, their actual policies aren't very attractive. On crime, education and health, though, I'm sure they'll be pleased to be ahead of Labour and the Lib Dems, even if behind us on all three issues.
Leaving aside the partisan pleasures these numbers afford, it reinforces one obvious thing: people clearly don't vote on policies, otherwise we'd have won already. It's a mix of other factors like personality, narrative and visibility. We need to work harder on visibility in particular, and we need to avoid the temptation of publishing leaflets which are just laundry-lists of these policies to woo people. That's not the lesson of this exercise.
So go do the survey if you haven't. You may be surprised: I wasn't.