Datablog (the Guardian)

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Main parties unlikely to make big gains outside heartland, pooled polls suggest

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 17:58

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A new analysis of ICM’s polling of voters in marginal seats reinforces the closeness of the race between Conservative and Labour

This has been the first UK election in which we have had results from a considerable number of constituency polls, giving us an indication of where the gains are likely to be. However, there are not constituency polls everywhere and sometimes it is worth taking a detailed look at what we can get out of the national data.

A new Guardian analysis of ICM’s campaign polls suggests Labour is performing no better in the marginal seats of the English battleground than it is doing nationwide.

Related: Election 2015: The Guardian poll projection

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NSW and Queensland storms in context: Australian weather events visualised

Fri, 05/01/2015 - 02:34

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Recent storms have devastated parts of Australia’s east coast. Here is how they compare with other weather events, from a light Melbourne drizzle to the torrential downpours caused by cyclone Yasi. These visualisations map total rainfall over 24 hours to the frequency and size of raindrops, with the maximum wind speed in the same 24 hour period scaling the speed and angle of the raindrops, as well as the gust frequency. Skip to the bottom to create your own weather event with custom settings

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School attacks around the world in data

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 06:00

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The horrors of the Peshawar school killings made headlines but, as the graphs below show, from Iraq to India children and teachers live under threat

The storming of a military school in Peshawar by the Taliban, who killed 132 children and nine teachers, horrified the world. But it wasn’t an isolated event; attacks on educational institutions seem to be increasing. Schools and universities everywhere – from Nigeria to Kenya and Afghanistan – have been targeted in recent years.

Last year the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) published a report that documented deliberate attacks on schools, universities, their students and staff in order to provide data that could develop more effective policy in this area. It analysed conflicts in 70 countries between 2009 and 2013 and categorised how far they’d been affected. For example, places categorised as “very heavily affected” had experienced more than 1,000 attacks on schools and universities over the four years. These included arson, missile strikes, looting and armed occupation by army forces or guerrilla groups.

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Polls point to Tories being largest party – but Miliband holds the cards in race for No 10

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 06:00

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Here’s what we know, and don’t know, with just a week until the election

The pattern is becoming familiar. On Mondays the Tories surge. Then at around 10.30pm that evening, it turns out that the two main parties are at deadlock. At the end of the week, Labour charges ahead.

The way polls are interpreted is increasingly driven by each pollsters’ release schedule rather than by any substantial change in the underlying trends.

Labour lead by 3pts across 50 most marginal Con held Labour targets: 3.5 swing since 2010. @itvnews Battleground poll pic.twitter.com/HlAOCLUP7B

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Young people on Milibrand: did Brand's interview with Miliband work?

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 22:11

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We asked young people whether they thought the Labour leader’s interview with the comedian would attract young voters or harm Miliband’s credibility

“I’m not a massive fan of Russell Brand, but I found Miliband quite genuine. Cameron comes across as scripted and managed by special advisers. It was nice to see a politician talking normally,” said Adam Taylor, 19, a student living in Glasgow. He was giving his verdict on Russell Brand’s interview with Ed Miliband, broadcast on Brand’s YouTube channel The Trews, which has more than one million subscribers.

Many people, including the vast majority of young people, feel abandoned by the political elite. Voter turnout amongst 18- to 24-year-olds far outstrips the ‘grey vote’ and politicians are rightly accused of ignoring the needs of young voters.

What did you think of Ed’s performance and what did you think about him dropping his ‘t’s?

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Lies, damned lies and statistics: 220 potential MPs sign up for stats training

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 11:13

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Candidates in the general election have signed up for a workshop aimed at brushing up their numeracy skills

More than 200 candidates hoping to enter the House of Commons after the general election on 7 May have pledged to attend a workshop on how to interpret statistics in public life.

It is part of a campaign by the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) to get new parliamentarians to acquaint themselves with the use of data. Of the 220 that have signed up, 31 are standing for re-election.

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How Spain's minimum marrying age compares with the rest of Europe

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 18:04

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Spain is set to raise the minimum consenting age for marriage from 14 to 16. Currently it has one of the lowest minimum ages in the world

Spain appears poised to raise the minimum marrying age from 14 to 16, in a move aimed at protecting children from forced marriages and exploitation.

On Tuesday a parliamentary justice commission passed new legislation under which 14- and 15-year-olds will no longer be able to marry. The draft law will now go to the senate for debate.

Related: Spain moves to raise minimum marriage age to 16

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The hidden biases of Geodata

Tue, 04/28/2015 - 11:00

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Analysis of one of the world’s largest placename databases reveals it is dramatically skewed toward the US’s cities, towns and settlements

This is a guest post by Mark Graham of the Oxford Internet Institute

Geographic information underpins so much of what we do today on the internet. By knowing the location of a tweet, a profile, or any other user-entered information, we can build services and software that is micro-targeted at user needs: for example dating sites, advertising, and search results.

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General election 2015: why is Labour dominating polls in London?

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 07:00

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Changing demographics of UK capital mean the city is on course to be as dominated by Ed Miliband’s party as Scotland is by the SNP

If Ed Miliband wins the election in two weeks’ time, a big part of Labour’s victory will be explained by its strength in London.

According to recent polling by ICM and YouGov, Miliband’s party enjoys a double-digit lead over the Tories in the capital. Labour is on 42% and 45% with the two pollsters, while the Tories are on 32% and 34%.

To me this is CENTRAL to stalemate Tory brand remains toxic - despite lead on economy #GE2015 pic.twitter.com/GijgoxvvHd

In polls, in focus groups, on doorsteps, the Tory party encounters people who are quietly admiring of its work in government and still cannot bring themselves to mark a ballot in its favour. As long as there are conservatives who are not Conservative, the party will fall short of its electoral potential.

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Australia's Direct Action fund may need $1bn more to meet emissions target

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 03:46

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Breakdown of initial auction results shows fund’s biggest beneficiaries, as well as funding shortfall if price per tonne of emissions reduction stays at $13.95

The Australian government’s Direct Action emissions reduction fund could require up to $1bn of extra funds to meet its carbon emissions reduction goal, according to a Guardian Australia analysis based on initial auction results.

The results of the first Direct Action auction, revealed last week, showed emissions reduction contracts worth $660.4m had been awarded to prevent 47m tonnes of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.

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Lib Dems could lose £26,000 in candidates' deposits, polls suggest

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 17:19

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Nick Clegg’s party is likely to miss the 5% hurdle in 52 seats, meaning a huge loss just five years after it didn’t forfeit a single pound

In 2010, the Lib Dems were the only major Westminster party to lose none of its deposits. Following its crash in the polls since the last election, the party is set to lose at least £26,000 in deposits this time round – and probably considerably more.

In the UK’s general election, candidates have to put forward a £500 deposit to indicate they are serious about running and they lose it if they fail to get 5% of the vote.

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The most one-sided elections in recent history

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 13:16

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With Kazakhstan set to re-elect its incumbent president relatively unopposed this weekend, here is a selection of other landslide polls around the world

For those who can’t take the suspense of the nail-biting British election, there’s another vote this weekend with more certainty about it.

Related: Kazakhstan election avoids question of Nazarbayev successor

For the first time two openly declared dissidents made it on to the ballot among more than 27,000 candidates competing for 12,589 municipal posts around the country … their participation was an unusually open act of defiance, not just by the two men but also by ordinary citizens who proposed them in a show of hands before the elections.

Donetsk People’s Republic

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Smile: happy faces are top emoji choice

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 06:00

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Analysis of more than 1bn pieces of emoji data show that happy faces are the top emoji choice - apart from in France where the heart gets top pick

From smiley faces to clapping hands, emojis have become, for some at least, as much a part of expression as text in a message.

Analysis of more than 1bn pieces of emoji data across 16 different languages by SwiftKey, the keyboard app, shows the top emojis among users.

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Number of people in extreme poverty could be greatly underestimated, report says

Tue, 04/21/2015 - 11:47

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The Overseas Development Institute says poorer countries cannot properly measure progress in areas such as poverty, health and education

Hundreds of millions more people could be living in extreme poverty than official estimates suggest, according to a study about how global development is being hindered by a lack of data about the world’s poorest people.

The Data Revolution: Finding the Missing Millions, a report published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), warns that poorer countries have no way to adequately measure their progress in areas such as poverty, health and education.

Governments can't hope to tackle poverty and meet other development goals without data on the true scale of the problem

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What do the party leaders’ campaign trails show so far?

Sun, 04/19/2015 - 08:44

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Halfway through the election campaign, the towns and cities the UK’s party leaders have visited reveal differing campaign strategies

David Cameron has been the most travelled party leader on the campaign trail, while Nigel Farage has been the most focused. We are halfway through the campaign and the wheels of the four main parties’ battle buses have been covering a considerable distance – and revealing some interesting patterns.

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Why is David Cameron not at the debate?

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 20:17

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The second most searched-for question on Google during the challengers’ debate was ‘Where is the prime minister?’

While the leaders of the five opposition parties – Labour’s Ed Miliband, the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, Ukip’s Nigel Farage, the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood – squared off on the BBC this evening in a challengers’ debate, Britain wondered: where is prime minister David Cameron?

The second most searched question on Google during the challengers’ debate on the BBC this evening was: “Why is David Cameron not at the debate?” The only question with higher search volume was “What is austerity?”

For clarity, I was not invited to #BBCDebate. I would have happily taken part and proudly defended our strong @LibDems record in government.

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What the Lib Dem manifesto's key themes reveal about their priorities

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 12:16

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Health, spending, policing and education are the key themes of the manifesto launched by Nick Clegg, according to an analysis of keywords

The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, launched his party’s manifesto in Battersea, south London, on Wednesday and we have analysed the document to give an indication of the party’s priorities.

Related: Lib Dem manifesto 2015 - the key points

Health – health/NHS/doctors/nurses/GPs

Education – education/schools/universities

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