Browse By

IDEA #58 – Politics: Who Should You Vote For?

This idea comes from Josh Manuel of (website that allows you to submit links and apply an emotion to it — rather than just giving a thumbs up/down) (btw, it’s for sale at — although I can’t imagine he’s serious about that selling price).

Here’s Josh’s idea:

Develop a website where a user enters in where they stand on a large list of issues. Once done filling out how they feel, the website compares that list against all the candidates in the running.

The site gives you a list of who to vote for based on the issues you agree the most with and why you should not vote for certain other candidates… Hopefully throwing the stupid ‘I am voting straight Republican or straight Democratic tickets’ often seen at elections, out the window.

Monetize it with contextual ads as well as giving candidates a way to spend all their campaign contributions at a place on the net where you have a large audience of people who will be voting. It would be very targeted traffic for the presidential candidates who have 20+ million dollars. I think you could run some costly banners if you built up a nice amount of traffic and contacted their campaign managers.

My comments:

I like this idea — and it could apply to all sorts of political elections (mayor, etc). I’m not very political, so it’d be great if there was a site where I could answer a list of questions about where I stand on the issue (and also a link to more info on the issue, in case I’m not familiar with it), then see what candidate I align with the best — and where the candidates stand on those issues (where we agree/disagree). Maybe I could then specify which issues I feel very strongly about, which would show me a different candidate that I’m better aligned with (maybe not on all the issues, but on the ones I feel strongest about).

  • Colin Dowling

    Not a bad idea, but I would be willing to bet there are a handful of sites that help match your interests to a certain candidate. If I recall correctly, Time/CNN had one in ’04 with regard to the Dem primary where it would help you determine where a candidate’s position was relative to your own interest.

  • Colin Dowling

    Additionally, one thing that could be very viable and would work much better in local elections would be to have network features that allowed candidates and their supporters to reach out to folks on the site.

    The flip side to all this is that I don’t think there would be much frequency of use in a site like this. Politicians usually stay with the same platform, so if you entered your preferences and got your answer on who was most likely to represent you well, what reason would you have for ever coming back to the site?

  • Bob Ellsworth tried this in 2000. Big, expensive ($20M) flop. The biggest problem is people are not really that interested in the details – they get most of their political information from friends, family, Leno and Daily Show and the assorted talking heads.

    Also, people tend to vote personalities these days in everything (how else can you explain Sanjya) and looking at something analytically would be the death of politics. These guys spend all their time purposely not giving you the details of how, but rather spend their time explaining why.

    The most effective way to get votes is still the people standing outside a polling place with the pieces of paper telling you who to vote for if you are an R or a D.

    In VA, where I live, George Allen lost a shoe-in campaign simply by saying Macaca – once he lost the stable R support, he was doomed.

  • Cybercorrespondent

    These two videos might help you decide who to vote for.

  • Julian

    we already have that in Germany. its called wahl o mat

    wahl means election

  • Andrew Hunt

    Hey all —

    Funny, I was really into this idea for a long time and still working on it. I think developing quizzes for every candidate wouldn’t be that scalable. But — it would be interesting to have a more wikipedia-style, edited website where people themselves organize the elections and the issues. The Davis Wiki project actually has a page dedicated to politics that is user-edited, and it’s high quality content.

    @Bob Ellsworth, I would agree — people are not interested in the details. BUT, I think they would be interested in specific causes. I for example am hugely interested in education in Massachusetts, and how a candidate stands on that particular issue can be a deal breaker for me.

    Feel free to shoot me an email if you’re interested in talking more, would love to get some perspective!

  • Faisal Hasan

    People have common sense to think about their candidate why they believe in your opinion. So how this idea will work.