Cambridge Labour’s graphs and charts

Before the elections last week, the Cambridge Labour Party’s website featured this graph on its front page, showing Cambridge local election results over the last few years:

Following the elections, they’ve replaced it with a bar chart showing only this year’s results:

As political bar charts go, you have to give this one pretty high marks. It’s accurate – the numbers are correct; it’s fairly presented – the bars are all the right size; and it’s relevant. But why the change in style? Well, if Labour had simply updated their original chart with this year’s results, it would now look like this:

You can see why they didn’t stick with this presentation of the results – it gives the impression that the tide has turned in Cambridge and that the Lib Dems are set to recapture the lead by 2015. Of course, what is actually going to happen, only time will tell.

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3 Responses to Cambridge Labour’s graphs and charts

  1. The falling Lab share may be due to falling turnout in wards that have become safe labour seats and which are no longer heavily fought. Do you fancy remaking the original chart with a correction for changes in ward turnout?

    • Phil Rodgers says:

      That would certainly be interesting – indeed it would be interesting to look at the correlation between turnout and majority in general. Of course there are demographic factors affecting turnout as well.

  2. Starting to show/analyse based on some “correction” for changes in turnout would certainly be interesting. But also raises as many questions about what is a “safe seat” (and ignoring for now that there was no serious UKIP challenge within Cambridge City) and what is the turnout to compare with. What may have been “safe” this year and so getting little a attention this year may not be in future years. Any seat that that has been treated as “safe” and ignored by the councillor(s) and/or party holding (or parties are guilty of this in various places) it is a ready target for someone else coming along to actively challenge – particularly if they have a well organised campaign and/or a particular issue to concentrate on.

    As the current UKIP surge has shown in Cambridgeshire, and elsewhere, even where one has hard working councillors changes can result because of dis-satisfaction with national politicians and consequently a general dis-illusion and lack of engagement with politics.

    This year was I believe the first time for 20 years that county elections have been held without some other elections (generally General, European which will generate higher turnout). So past turnout is not enough on it’s own as to what actual turnout will be.

    See blog by @andrewstuart at look at the chart/map half way down the page where it is possible to chose various aspects to compare. This sort of thing could be used to make choices as to which data to compare etc. (Something I’d love to do at some point but for now I’m busy with a Neighbourhood Plan.)

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