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Politics

9 Deeply Questionable Graphs On 2017 Election Leaflets

Every time you abuse the y-axis, a psephologist dies.

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British elections are steeped in tradition. And one tradition is the publication of election leaflets stuffed with really, really dodgy graphs.

1. In which the Scottish Tories suggest that 14 is bigger than 19.

Conservative Party / BuzzFeed / Juliet Swann / Via Twitter: @muteswann

Here's what it SHOULD look like!

Squared up that misleadingly slanty x-axis for you, too.
Conservative Party / BuzzFeed / Juliet Swann

Squared up that misleadingly slanty x-axis for you, too.

2. Another, in which they suggest that 10,000 is a third of 19,000.

Conservatives / John Lamont / Via Twitter: @TomChivers

Fixed that for ya, John.

It actually still looks pretty impressive, making the whole exercise even stranger.
Conservatives / John Lamont / BuzzFeed / Via Twitter: @TomChivers

It actually still looks pretty impressive, making the whole exercise even stranger.

3. According to the Lib Dems, 2.8 is about three times the size of 12.5!

Maths never ceases to amaze.
Charlie Leddy-Owen / Lib Dems / Via Twitter: @CLeddyOwen

Maths never ceases to amaze.

Fixed this one too:

Insert "Probably" and "either" above and below the words on the Lib Dem arrow.
Charlie Leddy-Owen / Lib Dems / BuzzFeed

Insert "Probably" and "either" above and below the words on the Lib Dem arrow.

4. And, apparently, 23 is about seven times bigger than 7.

That gap between 34 and 41 is suspiciously small, guys!
Lib Dems / Neil Garratt / Via Twitter: @NeilGarratt

That gap between 34 and 41 is suspiciously small, guys!

Here's what it should look like.

Weirdly, they also made Labour and UKIP seem stronger than they actually are.
Lib Dems / BuzzFeed

Weirdly, they also made Labour and UKIP seem stronger than they actually are.

5. Here are some Lib Dem numbers that tell you nothing at all.

No idea what's going on here. Thirty-four whats? Is this the vote or the change? Why aren't they lined up? Why is 5 almost the same size as 16? We have contacted the Lib Dems to find out more.
Lib Dems / Iain Munn / Via Twitter: @iainmunn

No idea what's going on here. Thirty-four whats? Is this the vote or the change? Why aren't they lined up? Why is 5 almost the same size as 16? We have contacted the Lib Dems to find out more.

6. In which the Lib Dems seem to think 5 is about a third of 8.

This isn't the WORST, but it's still not great.
Lib Dems / Jim Millar / Via Twitter: @Jim_Millar

This isn't the WORST, but it's still not great.

7. Honestly no idea what this chart means.

It's all very The Day Today. What are the units? What's the scale? Does the UK data INCLUDE Scotland or not? What do the big dots mean?
Dean Lockhart / Conservative Party / Via Twitter: @DeanLockhartMSP

It's all very The Day Today. What are the units? What's the scale? Does the UK data INCLUDE Scotland or not? What do the big dots mean?

Here's a more comprehensible version.

BuzzFeed / ONS / Gov.scot

Showing quarterly GDP growth for Scotland and the entire UK, from January 2013 to December 2016. (100 = 2013 average quarterly GDP.)

8. When the polls don't say what you want, why not ignore them?

The bars look about right, for the numbers. But the numbers are betting odds calculated from "a few dozen" bets, according to Ladbrokes. So that's bold.
Lib Dems / Stephen Williams / Glenn Vowles / Via Twitter: @vowlesthegreen

The bars look about right, for the numbers. But the numbers are betting odds calculated from "a few dozen" bets, according to Ladbrokes. So that's bold.

9. And, finally, the Scottish Tories printing an entirely meaningless chart that still manages to be wrong.

What were the starting percentages? Who's actually winning? And why is the red bar the same size as the blue one despite apparently being less than three-quarters of the value? Fun! Mystery!
Chris Land / Conservatives / David Hunter / Via Twitter: @dvrh9

What were the starting percentages? Who's actually winning? And why is the red bar the same size as the blue one despite apparently being less than three-quarters of the value? Fun! Mystery!

CORRECTION

Our version of Chart Number 7 now goes back to 2013 and has a Y-axis at 90. An earlier version of this piece had a chart which was only fractionally less misleading than Dean Lockhart's original.

Tom Chivers is a science writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Tom Chivers at tom.chivers@buzzfeed.com.

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