Over 400 people took part in our voting survey and overwhelmingly the view was that both tactical voting and vote swapping should be used by claimants.
Comments left by respondents ranged from those who had gone off and vote-swapped immediately to those who found the whole suggestion ‘immoral’ and ‘outrageous’.
It’s worth noting though, that a Guardian ICM poll this week found tactical voting by Tory voters to save Nick Clegg was taking place on a ‘breathtaking’ scale.
76% of respondents thought that claimants should try vote swapping if their preferred vote would make no difference in their home constituency. 15% did not agree with vote swapping and 9% were ‘Don’t knows’.
Voting for the Lib Dems in marginal seats where only the lib denms or the conservatives can win was slightly less well supported.
69% thought that this sort of tactical voting was a good idea, 19% thought it wasn’t, with 12% undecided.
We offered three possible outcomes for the Labour party at the election, to see which claimants preferred. 47% put a Labour majority as their preferred outcome, 35% chose a Labour minority government needing the support of a range of parties such as the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and the Greens, whilst just 23% opted for 24% opted for a labour minority supported by the SNP alone.
The suggestion of vote swapping in particular aroused some strong feelings. We’ve published what we hope are a representative range of comments below.
“The idea of another five years with Ian Duncan Smith in charge at the DWP terrifies me. We should do everything we can to stop that happening, including tactical voting and vote swapping. People's lives are at stake.”
“All I can say is do anything it takes to get this Tory government out of office all of our lives depend upon it, it's that serious!”
“Personally I would not swap my vote. I have voted for the Green Party as they are the only party in England with a social conscience. As to whether this is a wasted vote I can only say that voting for a party you don't believe in is a wasted vote. If all benefits claimants vote Green who knows what could happen ? It could be a wonderful result for us all ....”
“I've always voted Conservative but not this time. As a disabled pensioner and a widow on my own I'm afraid of where the axe will fall if they get into power.”
“I'm a natural conservative, but am on benefits, so cannot vote for my own party because all disabled people will suffer. We've had a bad deal already with WCA etc., so vote the best way you can to SAVE YOUR LIFE!”
“The fact that 'vote swapping' is even being discussed is because F P T P ( First past the post ) is no longer a system that works and is a travesty of democracy. Under this present system of FPTP millions of people feel their vote counts for nothing .. And unlike the Euro Elections, they are correct.”
I believe claimants have enough sense to consider more than benefits alone when they decide for which party to cast their vote in their own constituencies. There are no guarantees that someone offering to swap votes will do as promised and there is a real risk that those following this course may end up without the representation they hoped for.”
“It is wholly wrong and disgusting of the authors on this site to try and influence anybody in the way they are going to vote.”
“You are obviously very biased. I have not given any answers to Question 3 because I don't believe any of the options you offer would be the best election outcome. I would hate labour to have the chance to form a government and think the best outcome would be a firm Conservative majority! I will vote according to my beliefs and am horrified at the thought that you are encouraging so called vote swapping which I feel is completely dishonest.”
“Just do it. We voted Lib Dem in Sutton and Cheam, don't feel particularly proud but needs must. Didn't find out about vote swapping until too late. Had already done tactical postal vote to hopefully keep the Conservatives out here.”
“Given our ramshackle first-past-the-post system, vote swapping makes a huge amount of sense! It allows 'tactical' voting but ensures that the share of votes the parties get nationally still reflects their true level of support. (When, oh when will we get proportional representation???)”
“It seems immoral...and also requires trust in your 'partner' that I don't believe is justified...anyone prepared to 'swap' their vote is possibly going to vote for their own party anyway and thus get 2 votes!”
“I have already arranged a vote swap through Voteswap and am very pleased to have done it”
“We need to do all we can to stop the Tories getting their way and using the disabled and sick as a easy target”
“I think vote swapping is morally wrong. Tactical voting is sometimes necessary”
“Great idea and well worth doing to try and stop another 5 more brutal years of the Tories! I live in a safe Labour seat so can pretty much vote how I like, though know my vote will make no real difference. We can't afford to have even more lives destroyed by this government, or to watch them continue dismantling the welfare state. The welfare state was fought so hard for and we have to fight again to save it.”
“It's easy to vote swap....and it's legal! Have failed to get a swap partner so far so considering tactical voting. My preferred vote would be wasted here and don't think I can cope with further benefit cuts, the last 12 months have been hell....and I didn't do anything wrong except try to survive. We need to show we all want a change!”
“None of the above. I think this blatant attempt to influence outcomes is a disgrace. I also think claimants will get 'fannym adams' out of a Labour administration. The Lib Dems might help claimants, but they won't win!”
“I was very worried about voting for labour as I am a green supporter but live in a labour/conservative marginal. I was going to vote green out of principle although knowing it would make no difference to the final result. Now i know i can swap my vote and help keep the conservatives out and some one else can vote green for me, i am very happy and my conscious is clear.”
“Vote swapping is immoral. Vote for who you believe in, the media doesn't know who's going to win..they're guessing.”
“It's vital Labour get into power in this election. The lives of sick and disabled people have been made a living hell by the Coalition Government. Your vote counts! If you live in an area where the seat is between Tories or Labour only please please vote for Labour. A Lib Dem/UKip/Green vote will be 'wasted' in our first past the post system. We need to get Labour first over the winning line!”
“Think carefully, although many of us truly wish for the policies of the greens and want to support them, we have to reduce the number of conservative seats. For this reason it's so so important at this particular election to vote with your head and vote for the party with the greatest chance of ousting the conservatives in your area. This may be labour or lib dems. Most crucially, make sure you and your friends go and vote, whatever the weather!!!”
“Tories cannot be allowed to bring poor/sick and disabled down any further I am in Glasgow Scotland and have always voted Labour I have now posted my vote for SNP in hope that they can get more seats.”