The BBC’s Jeremy Vine took part in a question and answers session on Twitter this afternoon.
Jeremy’s virtual reality graphics will be a key part of the BBC’s television coverage from the moment the polls close on 7 May and throughout 8 May.
Here’s the best of #AskBBCVine
Q: @hankandkath Do you think there will be a time when we vote digitally? Via tweet or email? How would it affect outcome?
A: Not digital-only; some people need a polling booth. Digital-only voting might increase turnout amongst young.
Q: @Welshracer What will you do if the computer breaks down? Hand back to David?
A: It doesn’t jam as often as I expect it to! But yes – pause, stare at it, click it, then call Dimbleby in for help.
Q: @achinton Please can we have less silly greenscreen tosh on election night this year?
A. Maybe one day we will move off green-screen and go back to a wooden arrow on a nail. But not yet…
Q: Stephen Dobson (via email) I know you are a huge Joy Division fan! Would you ever contemplate using ‘She’s Lost Control’?
A: When the graphics misfire – “Walk away in silence.”
Q: Tim, Fordingbridge (via email) Which constituency has been the best indicator or predictor of the national result?
A: Despite boundary changes, Dartford, Basildon & Loughborough have reflected every result since 1974
Q: Tony, Shenfield (via email) What time do we reckon the result will be known?
A: Depends how close result is. If tight (as we expect), possibly not until Friday afternoon, May 8th!
Q: @MichaelHogg77 Is there a way of showing UK map with constituencies in equal size, not geographical area or simply as a dot?
A: We do use a one-dot-per-MP map; we also have a ‘proportional map’ – showing all seats the same size, yes.
Q: @philpursglove Should voting be compulsory?
A: It’s tricky. What if someone’s personal convictions tell them they shouldn’t vote? Would they be punished?
Q: Tony, Edinburgh (via email) What is your favourite statistic from this election?
A: I was looking at the Colne Valley seat and saw the MP had been thrown out for ‘lunacy’ in 1916, he was in shellshock… But if that’s not a statistic, I would simply say: 650 MPs in the House of Commons, 326 for an overall majority.
Q: David, Glasgow (via email) Why do broadcasters turn everyone off by talking incessantly about polls which don’t mean a thing?
A: They are more accurate & detailed than they used to be; they are interesting; we have nothing else.
Q: Euan, Solihull (via email) What has been the most exciting election you’ve covered?
A: I was a political correspondent in 1997 along with @BBCJonSopel and @bbcnickrobinson and was on the Blair battlebus. Lively.
Q: @manatrue Who will win and will they have a majority?
A: I have entered the office sweepstake with a very specific prediction but @benowatt says I can’t reveal it here.
Q: @mancalledczar Do you use special lubricant for your swingometer
A: It’s bloody painful if we don’t
Q: @MatthewHillman Will Prof John Curtice be featuring? How difficult will your job be with the polls so close?
A: Yes, we love Prof John Curtice. His prediction in 2010 was correct almost to the seat. He is the boffin’s boffin.
Q: @unclegagag Do you think turnout will be higher, given how close the parties are?
A: Last time turnout was 65%. But 1992 (a close election) was 78%, so yes, close contest may = turnout
Q: JamesFrost31 Which Egghead would you have next to you on the swingometer?
A: Probably @cjdemooi because if it went wrong he could be speared
Q: @GlennTodd Will more focus be on marginals and Scotland this year given their importance?
A: Yes, hugely. Watch for Midlands marginals around Brum; and the whole of Scotland may now be marginal!
Q: @Haquers How many ideas for graphics are discarded as unusable or over-complex?
A: Many! says @benowatt. (Great question). Balance is always between how powerful a graphic looks and how much it tells you.
Q: @ThisIsStanners What is your favourite ‘set’? The commons, Downing St, or just the normal one with the graphs?
A: For sheer rendering, the shot inside the lobby of the Commons (which pans up to the ornate ceiling) is amazing
Q: Ben, Hosforth Are you looking forward to using the technological wizardry, are you a technological wiz outside work?
A: Ben, I thought I was a bit tekkie until I met the graphics crew and I realised they DREAM of lines of code
Q: @TopTablePlanner Do you think a proportional representation system of voting would be better?
A: You would lose the clarity of ‘first past the post’, but you would lose some of the unfairness of FPTP too
Q: @AndyEdwardsR14C Any plans to visit N Ireland as these people could hold sway in the general election?
A: We refer to it a lot. The dramatic surge of the SNP is more notable at this point. But yes, I recall 1996 and Mr Major..
Q: Rupert, Speen (via email) Will you use a uniform swing to calculate seat projections again? Or how will you do it this time?
A: Uniform swing is tricky now because the UK is such a patchwork on election day. However the swingometer lives!
Q: @yrtheyalltaken Why are elections always on a Thursday? Is it so governments can start on the Monday?
A: It’s convenient for government business, yes. Thursday – long weekend – new govt in on Monday.
Q: @sharonm72 Should broadcasters focus more on policies and less on potential coalition alliances?
A: Lots of ppl do policies – but @benowatt and I are obsessed with numbers. Seats, swings, margins. It’s what we love.
Q: @EddieInburgh Do you have specialist data journalists working on election graphics?
A: It’s @benowatt and @Edsbrown and a technical team called Elect Systems Ltd. Big diff when a graphic moves with live data.
Q: @richardoyorks Which constituency result are you most looking forward to seeing?
A: Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill. Tom Clarke (Lab) won with 27,700 to SNP’s 7,000 in 2010. But a poll says @theSNP ahead!
Q: @garry_thomas Is Peter Snow going to have a walk-on part with the swingometer?
A: He would totally upstage me! Peter is my broadcast hero so I would embarrass him I fear …
Q: @AliAlexander15 Is it a turnoff for viewers when you predict results immediately voting closes, losing element of surprise?
A: I think it’s the opposite. Everyone wants to see our exit poll proved wrong (a la 1992), so there is what they call jeopardy.
Q: @dpphinn How do you think the Fixed Term Parliaments Act has changed the campaign?
A: It has made it easier for us to prep, and definitely removed the governing party advantage of going for snap election.
Q: @andy_wright79 Can you get the #GE2015 to finish at a reasonable hour? I have to look after the kids the next day
A: I wish I had that power.
Q: @agwoolford Will you be dressing up as a cowboy again?
A: If the circumstances demand it.
Q: Mark, Stamford (via email) What are the chances the Conservatives hold their solitary seat in Scotland?
A: Chances are better than some imagine, because Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale now looks like a 4-way marginal!
Q: @ml_davies If no party has overall majority, can the largest party form minority government if others could form a majority?
A: The answer is yes, but it could be very unstable. Depends if PM decides to try to carry on in those circs.
Q: @ThatTonySmith Who’s funnier, you or your brother?
A: I wish I had the guts to say me! Of course it is @RealTimVine, followed closely by sister Sonya.