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    May 7, 2014

    15 Deeply Dubious Liberal Democrat Graphs

    Nick Clegg's party is known for its unusual approach to representing statistics. #winninghere

    Next time you receive a Liberal Democrat leaflet look for a graph of recent election results. And then have another look. Because it might not stand up to scrutiny.

    Nick Clegg's party built its electoral success by positioning itself as the 'only alternative' to whichever party currently holds a constituency. They then try to convince Conservative supporters to vote Lib Dem in order to keep Labour out, and vice-versa.

    This only works if the Lib Dems successfully convince the public that they are the only challenger in a very tight electoral race. And this often involves adopting an approach to a graph's y-axis that would result in any 16-year-old failing GCSE maths, as these examples from Liberal Democrat leaflets show:

    1. Islington South.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Could have sworn the Conservative vote was almost half that of the Lib Dems.

    2. Streatham, Brixton and Clapham.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    The Conservatives' 15% vote share is a quarter of the Lib Dems' 35%. Or something.

    3. Islington North.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Easy win for the Lib Dems, there. Right. Right?

    4. Dundee West.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    "And the graph shows the Lib Dems closing in on Labour's 39 Scottish MPs with, er, just 12 of their own?"

    5. Crystal Palace.

    This isn't a hard one. 18% is more than half of 32%, so the blue bar needs to go more than halfway up the red bar.

    6. Berwick.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Sir Alan Beith, honestly. You've got a stonking majority. You don't need to needlessly make yourself appear under threat.

    7. Durham.

    Top tip: stick a pointy end on your bar charts to account for optimism.

    8. Manchester Withington.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Or, alternatively, only Labour can beat John Leech here. And they're much closer than you might think.

    9. Norwich.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Surging forwards! And the graph says they're to overtake the Conservatives!

    10. Derby.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Poor Tories, their poll rating squashed by the Liberal Democrat textbox of electoral doom.

    11. Manchester.

    Paul Bower / Via Twitter: @paul_bower

    No idea.

    12. Glasgow North.

    Via electionleaflets.org

    Giant arrow of Lib Dem optimism strikes again.

    13. Southsea.

    Richard Brown / Via Twitter: @Richhbrown

    12 + 5 = 26.

    14. Walthamstow.

    Walthamstow Lib Dems / Via walthamstowlibdems.org.uk

    Without comment.

    15. Sheffield.

    Libdem bar-charts are why I have trust issues / Via Facebook: Libdem-bar-charts-are-why-I-have-trust-issues

    Nope.

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