Ooops! Mirror gets poll graph wrong and inflates Labour’s position

I blogged earlier today about how the Mirror bigged up a poll showing Tory support unchanged (within the margin of error) into a story of how their support was plunging.

But looking again at the story, I realise just how badly wrong their graph is.

The two key pieces of information about Labour’s rating in the poll are that:

(a) It was 30%

(b) It was 32% in the previous poll

Now look at the graph:

Mirror poll graph

See what’s happened? What should be a downward Labour line has become a flat line and the end which should be at 30% is actually put at about 31%. Both the trend and the end point are wrong – and both in ways that flatter Labour.

Not good at all.

(You may notice that the Tory point also looks like it may be a little on the low side too, but having deployed ruler and calculator the overall impact on the graph is to make the Tory-Labour gap 25% smaller than it should be. Plus the Labour line is flat rather than down.)

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15 Comments

  • Anthony Aloysius St 24th Mar '10 - 11:41pm

    “You may notice that the Tory point also looks like it may be a little on the low side too, but having deployed ruler and calculator the overall impact on the graph is to make the Tory-Labour gap 25% smaller than it should be. Plus the Labour line is flat rather than down.”

    It doesn’t sound as though you’ve looked at many “two-horse” race graphics recently, if you think that kind of thing is bad!

  • Anthony Aloysius St 24th Mar '10 - 11:56pm

    Actually, if you have a look at the MORI page on Anthony Wells’s site (http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/voting-intention/mori) you’ll see what happened. The Mirror used a graph that only went up to last month’s figures.

    It shows (admittedly not very accurately) last month’s lead of 37-32, which oddly enough is the same as this month’s one of 35-30.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Mar '10 - 12:25am

    The big inaccuracy in that graph is actually in the position labelled “Brown comes to power”. He came to power at the end of June 2007. The graph goes from something more like the end of September, omitting out the first three months of his premiership, when Labour had a clear lead over the Tories.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 25th Mar '10 - 8:12am

    Mark

    For the explanation, see my post at 11.56 above.

  • If you want bias may I direct you to The Sun newspaper. Looks like if Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like it then it is bad for everyone. Because Rupert Murdoch is representative of the man on the street, isn’t he?

  • Ordinary Bloke 25th Mar '10 - 8:38am

    So the Mirror is true to the ethics of it’s political masters lying, cheating and deceiving at every turn. Well spotted Mark but did anyone really expect anything different? Keep it up and keep an especially close eye on Labours PR team at the BBC.

  • This is a bit rich coming from a Lib Dem – the party that is congenitally incapable of publishing an accurate and truthful graph on its election propaganda: “Only the Lib Dems can beat Labour/the Tories” accompanied by a crassly misdrawn bar chart.

  • Disco Biscuit 25th Mar '10 - 11:12am

    They’ve also used really thick lines, which has the visual effect of making the gap between the parties look narrower than it actually is.

    With graphs like this, you wonder if these guys used to run Lib Dem constituency campaigns 😉

  • Dr Freud,

    I have been responsible for many graphs/ bar charts over the years. They have always been mathematically correct.

    Angela,

    But if Boris was PM would he meddle in bus operations EVERYWHERE ????

  • HA! A Lib Dem complaining about dodgy graphs!

    I point you to any Lib Dem leaflet for all the dodgy graphs and mathematics you’d possibly need!

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