Changing the Denominator: Spinning Election Results

It is amazing how commentators spin the results of an election. You would think that a candidate wins or losses, but no, it can be (and most often is) spun to make a win sound like a loss or vice versa.

The recent example I have in mind is Liz Truss winning the Conservative Party vote for who would be leader of the party and therefore Prime Minister. Liz Truss won the race 57.4 to 42.6 percent for Rishi Sunak. She won and by a majority of the valid votes.

However, many critics of Truss argued that she won less than a majority of all members of the Conservative Party, as many did not vote, as in any election. Should we count non-voting, “don’t knows”, spoiled ballots, and so on, as votes for the other candidate?

Other critics argued that she was not ahead in polls of Tory Party members of parliament, but they are only a fraction of the members of the Tory Party.

Others argued that she should have been voted on by the entire electorate of the UK, which is ridiculously equating the UK’s parliamentary system with the US presidential system. The voting public in the UK does not vote for the PM, the PM is selected by the majority or largest party based on races within the many constituencies of the members of parliament.  

Spinning a defeat is done by changing the denominator, changing the election, comparing outcomes with real, historical, or hypothetical expectations, and so on. The New Statesman headline read: “Liz Truss’s Tory leadership win is the narrowest under the current rules”.[1] For goodness’ sake, what other rules would one judge the outcome!

Shame on the pundits – the spin doctors.

If a track race or any race is won by a split second – even if a photo finish, it is won. Anything else is a road to madness.

Polling is Clear!


Comments are most welcome