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Tag: governing parties in Europe

Visualizing left-right government positions

How does the political landscape of Europe change over time? One way to approach this question is to map the socio-economic left-right positions of the governments in power. So let’s plot the changing ideological ┬ápositions of the governments using data from the Manifesto project! As you will see below, this proved to be a more challenging task than I imagined, but the preliminary results are worth sharing nonetheless. First, we need to extract the left-right positions from the Manifesto dataset. Using the function described here, this is straightforward: lr2000<-manifesto.position(‘rile’, start=2000, end=2000) This compiles the (weighted) cabinet positions for the European countries for the year 2000. Next, let’s generate a static map. We can use the new package rworldmap for this purpose. Let’s also build a custom palette that maps colors to left-right values. Since in Europe red traditionally is the color of the political left (the socialists), the palette ranges from dark red to gray to dark blue (for the right-wing governments). library (rworldmap) op <- palette(c(‘red4′,’red3′,’red2′,’red1′,’grey’,’blue1′, ‘blue2′,’blue3’, ‘blue4’)) After recoding the name of the UK, we are ready to bind our data and plot the map. You can save the map as a png file. library(car) lr2000$State<-recode(lr$State, “‘Great Britain’=’United Kingdom'”) lrmapdata <- joinCountryData2Map( lr2000,joinCode = “NAME”, nameJoinColumn = “State”, mapResolution=’medium’) par(mai=c(0,0,0.2,0),xaxs=”i”,yaxs=”i”) png(file=’LR2000map.png’, width=640,height=480) mapCountryData( lrmapdata, nameColumnToPlot=”position”,colourPalette=op, xlim=c(-9,31), ylim=c(36,68), mapTitle=’2000′, aspect=1.25,addLegend=T ) dev.off() The limits on on the x- and y-axes center the map on Europe. It is a process of trial and error till you get it right, and…