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Off in the distance
my journal
May 2016

The Bellinghman
Date: 2010-05-07 17:14
Subject: Why the Swingometer needs to be retired
Security: Public
Tags:politics, rants, statistics
Look at the following table:

Oliver HealdConservative26,99553.5  +5.5
Hugh AnnandLiberal Democrat11,80123.4 +3.1
David KirkmanLabour8,29116.4-11.9
Adrianne SmythUK Independence Party2,0754.1 +0.8
Rosemary BlandGreen8751.7 +1.7
Richard CampbellIndependent2090.4 +0.4
David RalphYour Right To Democracy Party Limited1430.3 +0.3
Philip ReichardtIndependent360.1 +0.1

Yes, this is a case where the leading candidate increased his vote, the former second place collapsed into third place, and the previous third place rose to second place.

So how does the Swingometer report this multifaceted situation?

A 1.2% swing from LD to CON.

So how is this calculated?

It's half the difference in the winning party's change in vote and the second party's change in vote. In the case where two main parties contest a constituency, if the winner has a vote rise of 5%, and the loser has a loss of 4% (with the rest disappearing off to the marginal parties), then the difference is 9%, and the swing is 4.5%. This is a reasonably meaningful measure, giving some indication of the proportion of voters deserting one party for the other.

But what we have here is not a two party fight, but more a three party one. Both first and second place parties increased their vote. So although the calculation is (5.5% - 3.1%)/2, giving that 1.2%, the implication of the calculated swing that 1.2% of voters deserted the LDs for the Tories is quite blatantly false.
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User: martyn44
Date: 2010-05-07 16:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And your point is? As I recall (and I was watching the first time it appeared [in 1964, I believe]), the Swingometer was introduced as something bright and shiny on tv to try and convince us thickos that something actually quite complicated is really very simple if only we will let a sneering conman like Jon Snow lead us by the nose.

Look who is giving the false message and ask yourself why.
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