ARCHIVE UK Election Candidates Survey

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 General Election Candidates Survey 2010

All 4150 candidates standing in the General Election on 6 May 2010 were surveyed. A 20-page printed questionnaire was mailed to all candidates in May and June 2010. Separate versions of the questionnaire were designed for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (For copies of the questionnaires, please click on the relevant link on the sidebar.) Candidates were invited to complete the survey either on paper or online. A total of 1965 candidates, 47.3%, submitted a valid return in one form or another. A further 190 candidates, 4.6%, responded but declined to take part in the survey, mainly citing a lack of time to complete a lengthy questionnaire.

In 2010, election candidates were for the first time given the choice of whether their home addresses were to be made public or not. Before 2010, it had been a requirement for all candidates to state their full home address on the nomination forms (since 1872). Of the 4150 candidates standing, 1187 (28.6%) chose not to publish their home addresses. Alternative mailing addresses thus had to be found for these candidates from a variety of public sources, such as party websites. If no address could be identified, the questionnaire was mailed to the candidate's election agent with a request to pass it on to the candidate.

After the mailing of a hard copy of the questionnaire was completed in June 2010, a series of reminders were scheduled to be mailed to non-respondents after the summer. E-mail addresses were available for 82% of candidates, and a first round of reminders was sent out by e-mail in late August and early September. A second hard copy of the questionnaire was mailed in mid- to late September, followed by a series of further e-mail reminders during October 2010.

In November 2010, non-respondents were invited to complete a substantially shortened version of the questionnaire online – this new questionnaire included just 25 questions (For a copy of the short questionnaire, please click on the relevant link on the sidebar). Two e-mail reminders were sent in subsequent weeks.

A final effort to attract responses from those that had so far not accepted the invitation to participate was made in early December 2010. Candidates with e-mail addresses were sent an even shorter version of the questionnaire, four pages, as a pdf attachment (For a copy of the very short 'final effort' questionnaire, please click on the relevant link on the sidebar). Candidates were asked to print out the questionnaire and return it by mail. In addition, a total of 650 non-respondents for whom no valid e-mail addresses were available was mailed a hard copy of the four page questionnaire.

The full 20-page questionnaire was completed by 1477 candidates, a response rate of 35.6%. A further 338 short questionnaires were completed, a combined response rate of 43.7%; the 'final effort' 4-page questionnaire was returned by 150 candidates. Of those who submitted a valid response, 41% completed the online questionnaire and 58% responded by completing the questionnaire on paper.