When we go to vote in a general election – and our research suggests that more than nine out out of ten evangelicals intend to vote – there can be many different factors that play into how we make our mind up.

Here are six different ways that can help you decide, which you may already be thinking about in the final days of this election campaign. 

1. Vote for the party policy platform

This is possibly the most obvious way, and at least in theory the best place to start. Look at what each party is proposing to do through their manifestos and other statements and decide which set of proposals is the closest to how you think the country should be run in the years ahead.


2. Vote for the leader who will be the best prime minister

We do not vote for our prime minister – that is an indirect result of the party which gains the most seats – technically it is someone who can command a majority in parliament. However, our system has become increasingly focused on the leadership of the party and they are often the most or only recognisable political figures, so the person who is leading the party and as such putting themselves forward to serve as prime minister matters. So, we must consider what we think about these leaders and who we would most want in 10 Downing Street.

3. Vote against a party you don’t want in power

While we might cast our vote for a party or person we want in power we may also be deciding based on who we don’t want to be governing. While it is vital to hold politicians to account and there is value in voting against parties or candidates, we shouldn’t lose sight of the people or party that we are voting for.

4. Vote based on a specific issue or policy area

Party manifestos cover a vast range of policy areas, some of which we may feel able to judge the parties on, and others we may not be able to. Even as a dedicated political geek, there are many policy proposals I am unable to make a well-thought-through judgement on. This means that sometimes our vote may be based on a particular key issue or policy area we feel strongly about. It may also mean we vote for parties or candidates whom we disagree with on many other areas. Something to consider is both where a party stands on an issue and the particular views of candidates running to be your MP.

5. Vote locally

There is widespread frustration with national politics, and distrust of politicians, but generally people think much better of their own local MP. Our actual vote is for one MP and therefore the character, competency and positions of the individual candidates matters a great deal. We may therefore vote based on the individual person running rather than the party they are standing for. It is vital that we still pay attention to the national policy positions, as MPs will usually vote with their party in parliament. 

Another consideration may be particularly relevant to local issues where you live. However, do remember that very few local issues get specific attention in parliament, many are decided by your local council. This also affects the role we expect our future MP to take, do we want them to prioritise national policy, or primarily be a spokesperson for local issues?

6. Vote tactically

Linked to some of the factors above, we may choose to vote in our constituency for a party other than our first natural preference because we want to stop one party from winning or would prefer our second-choice candidate got in. The way our electoral system works can encourage this form of voting, but it is also hard to predict the impact it will have.

How will you decide how to vote?

In all likelihood how you vote will be determined by a combination of all of the above factors. There is no correct or perfect way to vote or to decide how to vote. We might not be that excited about the options on our ballot paper. 

Voting gives us a chance to participate in how our country is run, but it should not be the end of our political engagement. We should hold parties to account, as well as individual politicians, for the decisions they take, and we should be involved in issues we care deeply about far beyond election day. 

Thinking faithfully about politics

Thinking faithfully about politics

Our latest research offers a snapshot of how evangelicals think and act as they engage in politics Read report now
Prayers as we engage in the lead up to the election

Prayers as we engage in the lead up to the election

Join us in prayer for decision-making, unity, peace and wisdom in the weeks leading up to the general election Pray with us