Methodology

Basic principles

The project TU VOTO is built on two fundamental pillars: the methodology, that is, the way in which this application of voting orientation has been created; and its independence from political parties and public institutions.

These two elements give this initiative the necessary rigor and validity to be taken into account when locating the electorate in the political arena of Florida and Texas prior to the 2018 November 6th elections to the Governor and Senator of each State.

The methodology is a central element for the development of a project with the characteristics of TU VOTO. It’s very important that the user can know where their results come from. But not only that, it is also important to know why the questions that make up the questionnaire are appropriate, why certain response options are chosen over others, how the preferences of the parties are defined and, of course, how the answers of each voter are translated into numbers and then into graphs.

From the questions to the graphics

The questionnaires of TU VOTO contain different amount of questions per election, the elaboration of which has followed the following criteria:

  1. Current issues in the political field of Texas and Florida
  2. Issues that the Governor and Senate are responsible for
  3. Possibility to qualify the answer (we have avoided dichotomous answers) to be more precise in terms of the definition of preferences, both parties and users
  4. Possibility of contrasting the answers with already existing information on the positionings of the party
  5. Neutrality in the formulation of the questions

Questionnaire answers

All questionnaire questions will have the same response scale. This scale consists of five categories labeled and chosen according to empirical criteria. We consider that with five response categories we can observe the direction and intensity of the response, while also allowing a neutral category.

The categories will be:

  • COMPLETELY DISAGREE (CD)
  • IN DISAGREEMENT (ID)
  • NEITHER AGREE NOR DISAGREE (NAND)
  • AGREE (A)
  • COMPLETELY AGREE (CA)
  • DO NOT KNOW, NO ANSWER

The option of ´Do not know, no answer´ is included, because given the obligatory nature of answering all the questions, an option is necessary to which the respondent can resort in case of not knowing the answer or not wanting to answer, but still be able to finish the questionnaire.

These response categories are for questions in the questionnaire. Likewise, as explained, there will also be questions to know the characteristics of the users. These will have different response options: age ranges, sex, habitual spoken language, level of studies and postal code.

Preferences of the candidatures

The objective of the questionnaire is to determine the proximity of respondents with to candidates´ stances on different issues. Thus, on the one hand, it is necessary to know the preferences of the voters and, on the other hand, to know the preferences of the candidates.

Each list submitted to the elections will be given preferences according to three elements:

1. Newspaper library

The preferences of the parties are usually reflected in all different types of media sources.Therefore, we will review statements made by different members of the parties that appear in multiple media sources.

2. Electoral programs

Finally, the preferences of the parties can not be understood without taking into account the electoral programs of the candidates.To define the preferences of the candidates, an exhaustive review of the electoral programs and promises will be made, where they present in writing the proposals that will be carried out if they win.

3. Previous political activity

The TU VOTO team will review the previous political action of each candidate in public positions or actions outside the institutional scope to locate their stances as accurately as possible.

By combining these three elements, the preferences of each list will be established in a data matrix. To example guide:

Question X
TED ED NAND DA TDA
Candidature Y 0 0.2 1 4 5

According to this table, for the application AND the answer closest to your preference to Question X is Strongly agree (CA = 5). Similarly, the answer most distant to your preference is Strongly Disagree (CD = 0). Therefore, if a respondent answers question X that is completely in agreement, this response will bring their preferences closer to those of the Y party. This table will be made for each of the questions in the questionnaire and for all the matches that are presented in the elections. Finally, the last question will ask the respondent to order the different thematic blocks according to the subjective importance that is given to them. The same will be done with the different candidacies. This last question will weigh the different blocks according to the importance that the user gives them and will allow to better define the proximity of views between the party and the voter.