A good graph should tell a story – like this one

Eyewitness News,

I came across this graph on the multimedia section of Eyewitness News website just before the final Scottish referendum on 18 September 2014.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Graph showing Scots polled leading up to referendum, with 61 percent yes votes versus 39 percent no votes at start of campaign, coming to within 2 percent days before the final vote day
“Yes” versus “No” votes of Scots polled during 2014 referendum

This graph of Scots polled during the campaign shows how opposing “Yes” and “No” votes at the beginning of the campaign converged shortly before vote day, almost changing a more than 300-year union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The graph tells a compelling story of how voter sentiment changed in a short space of time; numbers on their own could not have done that. We can communicate important stories involving numbers by using graphs and tables when designed effectively.