What the Voters Saw - your experiences of the election campaign

With new leaders and new frontbench teams for both opposition parties, the election seems a world away. But let’s cast our minds back to before the election: what was it like for you? What did you see? What did you do?

Between February and May, we sent out a series of surveys to Unlock Democracy supporters, asking you about your experience of the election. Unlock Democracy supporters are a bit different from the standard population--you’re generally more engaged, more politically active, and more likely to participate. According to the last of our surveys, an enormous 98.2% of you went out to vote (turnout was 66.1%). However, even though you were probably paying more attention than the general public, you still didn’t see very much of the election. We asked you to rate the visibility of the election in February and May but this barely changed throughout the campaign!

Even though you felt like you didn’t see very much, though, we managed to gain insights into your perception of campaigning tactics, old and new.

Generally, you felt like you got local and national information from more traditional sources.

There was a big difference in the sources you found more useful at the local and national levels, with election leaflets dominating the local campaign while the mainstream media led the national campaign.

But what about newer methods? Was 2015 really the first social media election it was trumpeted to be? Sort of, but not in the way you might think. The majority of you said you didn’t use social media to get involved in the election, although almost half did use it.

When we asked you why you used social media, the most popular reason was to show support for a party or candidate: in other words, social media is a 21st century version on the old tradition of displaying a poster in your window!

The seven way televised leaders’ debate was another first in British election history, and it was a really useful chance for leaders to change public opinion surrounding them… for some leaders. Nicola Sturgeon, Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood successfully made a difference to our respondents’ perceptions of them with the leaders’ debates, while the male candidates did not.

here’s so much more to look at, and we don’t have time to go into everything that you saw during the election here, but please read the full report to discover more interesting data about your experiences of the 2015 election. Which parties were most likely to use negative campaigning tactics? How much did you know about your local candidates? Which political parties were the most followed? Find out all this and more...