A major problem in the statistical analysis is making inferences about individuals from the groups of which those individuals are part. In Britain, naive analyses of the recent election and referendum results may make this kind of error.

Net, not individual, movements

In a Twitter post shared over a thousand times, a user stated:

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Voters do not stay in blocs. (Image: John Ross/Twitter)
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This is an illustrative example. (Image: ggplot2)
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Looking at net changes gives the wrong impression. (Image: ggplot2)
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The central estimate of Conservative seats was 348 seats. (Source: YouGov/UCL)
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Labour lost slightly more voters to the Conservatives than the Liberal Democrats. (Image: YouGov)

Labour Leave

Another example of the ecological fallacy at work in British politics is the belief that most Labour voters (in the 2017 General Election) backed Leave in the 2016 EU referendum.

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The dilemma was often misunderstood. (Image: Prof John Curtice/UK in a Changing Europe)

Not everything is a fallacy

It is important to remember that constituency-level associations can provide indications of individual movements.

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Social grade is based on what types of jobs people do. (Image: Financial Times/Twitter)

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This blog looks at the use of statistics in Britain and beyond. It is written by RSS Statistical Ambassador and Chartered Statistician @anthonybmasters.

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