by Stephen Tall on November 18, 2014
Market research firm YouGov poll a lot of people about a lot of things. As a result they have a data trove which they’ve turned into a visualisation tool which can profile a typical customer for any given brand… including if that ‘brand’ is the Lib Dems.
Before I get to the fascinating screenshots, and you all shout back “But that’s just not true”, here’s what YouGov says about what the data show:
This app does not show the *typical* fan or customer. If it did, most groups would look very similar, and you wouldn’t learn a lot about the specifics of particular thing.
It shows what is *particularly true* about a group. We compare the group to their natural ‘comparison set’ (for example, fans of Downton Abbey compared to anyone who has rated any TV shows) and see which of the thousands of datapoints most overscore in our target group.
For example, if something is only true of 1% of the overall population, but is true of 6% of our target group, it might score very highly (and shows you something interesting and true about that group). But it doesn’t mean that it is true of all of them!
Another example: many of the football teams show a *female* character – this does not mean that most of the fans are female, but simply that compared to other football teams, there are *more* female fans than you would expect.
Right, caveat inserted, here’s what it shows… (Incidentally the Lib Dem sample size is 782, a pretty decent figure for this kind of exercise.)
One thing which is particularly true of Lib Dems is… there are a lot of young professional men working in London in government / civil service. (I know: you’re stunned.) You may be more surprised to see the Lib Dems identified on the far left of the left/right axis, so note YouGov’s explanation: “Simplifying a group of people onto a left-right axis is notoriously hard. PhDs have been written on the subject! Specifically, the left/right dial shows where this group *ranks* among their comparison set in terms of the percentage of Conservative voters among the total. So it’s really a measure of Conservatism.” Ie, Lib Dems are very *not* Conservative.
It’s official: Lib Dems are most likely to like cats. It looks as if Martin Tod’s long-standing suspicions of cat-entryism within the party are well-founded. By the way, the food which came out top for Lib Dems (ie, something which is especially true of Lib Dems)… aubergine parmigiana. Of course.
We are particularly likely to self-describe as “analytical”, “clever” and “knowledgeable”. But we do recognise our (occasional) faults, too: “disorganised”, “procrastinating” and “self-absorbed”. Hmm, so we’re smart ditherers… I think we’d better keep that concealed from the voters. And I know you’ll pay attention to my advice, seeing as we’re especially disposed to get most of our information from the Internet.
We are, it seems, avid BBC-ers: Radio 4, BBC online and iPlayer all rank as three of the top 10 brands. Which makes it a little surprising that Topman is our favoured clothing brand (responsibility perhaps lies with our key demographic: see above). The other shock is that we’re disproportionately loyal to First Direct, rather than the Co-Operative. Incidentally, Coutts came second.
I think it’s fair to say this represents an array of tastes; perhaps best symbolised by our top two television programmes being Only Connect and the Eurovision Song Contest. (The surprising absentee here is, of course, Dr Who.) Though the nostalgia on display — only one of the five films was made in the last three decades — suggests our key demographic of young professional men must be fogeys at heart.
True to form, we’re especially likely to Like on Facebook the sites of the party, its leader and the Electoral Reform Society. Less true to form, two of our most-favoured tweeters are musician Ed Sheeran and actor Stephen Mangan. And the website that comes top: ThisIsLocalLondon.co.uk. A few weeks ago, political commentator Ian Birrell called for the founding of a Metropolitan Party: looks like we’re it.
We’re quite likely to be online for more than 50+ hours a week (ie, at least seven hours every day); we’re disproportionately Guardian (and Independent) and Economist (and New Scientist) readers; and we like watching Newsnight and listening to the cricket. Does any of that sound like you? Say what you like, I think YouGov has got us pretty much bang to rights.
You can try the YouGov profiler out for yourself here.
* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.