Cameron overclaims party’s online engagement

Speaking at a conference this morning, David Cameron claimed 150,000 people had engaged in his party's manifesto process. The claim is out by a factor of 25.

Speaking at Stephan Shakespeare’s Post-Bureaucratic Age conference this morning in east London, David Cameron exaggerated the amount of engagement in the party’s manifesto process by a factor of 25.

In answer to a question from the audience about his party’s use of online tools, Cameron said:

“We had 150,000 people voting online [on our draft manifesto] … I think you’d be surprised if 100,000 normally read a manifesto.”

But the Conservative’s own website show that this is a huge exaggeration. The party has received:

• 6,881 votes from 521 people on transparent government;

• 29,161 votes from 1,326 people on the economy;

• 36,180 votes from 1,546 people on education; and

• 40,002 votes from 2,606 people on the NHS.

In total, 5,999 people have voted 112,224 times, an average of 18 times each. Cameron’s claim was out by a factor of 25.

This isn’t the first time that the Tories have been questioned for over-claiming the amount of engagement in their online manifesto process. Last month, Will Heaven wrote on his Telegraph blog, “The Conservatives are playing a dangerous game with their draft manifesto”

“Last week, David Cameron was asked just 1,109 questions about the NHS by 2,612 people, who rated other people’s questions 40,000 times (needless to say, it’s that last figure you’ll hear the most about). This week there’s no improvement. David Cameron is taking questions on education, but has so far received only 631 questions from 1,364 people, who have rated other questions 32,749 times.

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