You may be following YouGov polls, Populus polls, ICM polls, or even the so-called “poll of polls”. Watching numbers slightly fluctuate on a seemingly random basis is hardly an enjoyable way to engage in the speculation surrounding 6 May. Yet there is another way you can get your pre-election kicks.
Personally, I’m loving the Slapometer. The original version of this “game” (although it should really be taken more seriously and given the respect it deserves) was created so that web users could virtually inflict the pain on Nick Griffin they wished they could in real life. For all those appalled by the rise of neo-fascism in this country, it made for a very comforting experience. In a similar vein, the disaffected public now get the opportunity to take out their frustrations on the political party leaders.
The total number of slaps received by each leader speaks volumes about where they stand in terms of voter contempt. Many people were slapping along to the live debate last night, registering their disapproval at what was being said. Every time Real Cameron opened his mouth, his cyber doppelgänger’s percentage of slaps in relation to the other two leaders rose dramatically – particularly when it was to let out some disingenuous, sycophantic drivel. Cyber Brown was doomed to a similar fate (expectations were clearly not lowered enough). Throughout the debate, both Real and Cyber Clegg remained relatively unscathed. How accurate the Slapometer is as a gauge of public opinion regarding the party leaders is questionable; I wouldn’t be surprised if party activists are incessantly slapping the opposition, and sometimes its hard to slap just one character without accidently ricocheting onto another, setting in motion a virtual Mexican wave of abuse.
Aside from being a decent barometer of how people feel about Brown, Cameron and Clegg, the Slapometer is a therapeutic tool. It’s soothing for the politically antipathetic soul. I’ve given Cameron 2893 slaps so far and boy, does it feel good!