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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.


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

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.


Here's a more comprehensible version.

BuzzFeed / ONS /

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?

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.

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!


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

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