Elections bring out some of the best examples of terrible charts, and the recent UK general elections were no exception. Throughout the campaigns and in the most recent reporting of results, we can find everything from blatant manipulation to hilarious mistakes.
Manipulating scale on bar charts was the most commonly used “tactic.” (I’m using scare quotes because I’m not sure if the tactic was intended to get votes or to insult the intelligence of every person looking at the chart.)
And of course, we have the truncated axis to exaggerate a difference that is not even outside the margin of error for poll results, courtesy of The Sun:
Even after the elections were over, the results reporting was skewed:
In the Haringey Council elections, apparently a new political party, the Lynne party, gave Labour a run for its money. There must be a ton of Lynnes living in that area to require their own party to represent them. Not enough Lynnes, however–they lost to the Catherine party.
This election also brought out a relatively new kind of chart, which is as much fun to figure out as untangling a knotted-up ball of yarn. I am, in fact, 99.9% sure the chart was made by a cat. This topic interaction graph is intended to depict tweets on the hashtag #leadersdebate. It might be comprehensible if the same colors weren’t used for different topics, but to be fair, cats are color blind.
Another chart related to the election issues is the pie chart that missed its calling as a bar chart. Brought to us by The Sun, this chart is intended to show the percentage of British voters who chose each topic as a top priority in the election, information that doesn’t really lend itself to pie chart display because the percentages don’t add up to 100. They aren’t really pieces of a coherent whole.
But the winner of the funniest election chart mistake goes to this chart, a “spot the error” shared on Twitter by Joseph Willits.
I’ll give you a hint (I needed one). Here are photos of Ed Milliband (left), the Labour party candidate for PM, and his brother, David Miliband (right).
And finally, for all you UK voters who are disappointed by the outcome of the recent elections, here’s a reassuring chart from Joel Tennant: