Last week there were four widely-covered Senate votes about healthcare. The results of the votes were often broken down by party (R)/(D) but I wanted a geographic visual summary of the results. I use this notebook to visualize the recent results in the Senate with the machinery of facet_geo in the geofacet package.

First, let’s generate/clean/format our data.

I load required packages.

library(geofacet);library(dplyr);library(ggplot2);library(ggrepel); library(extrafont); library(ggthemes);library(reshape);library(grid);

Now, I then constructed a csv file that contained structured information on the vote to start debate and the three following proposal votes. The NYTimes consistently provided information on how all Senators voted, so I used the following two articles to construct my data set: article on the vote to start debate & article on the three following votes.

I then read in the csv file I created from the NYTimes data on the senate votes.

healthcare <- read.csv('hcare_votes.csv')

For the purposes of ggplot2, we have to reshape everything to be long format. Let’s do that with a column for the categories of senators. Then we will subset for each of the 4 votes of interest (starting debate, repeal and replace, partial repeal, and ‘skinny’ repeal) to create plots for each.

            varying = c("Dem", "R_vote_for_debate", "R_vote_against_debate", "R_vote_for_repeal_replace","R_vote_against_repeal_replace", "R_vote_for_partial_repeal", "R_vote_against_partial_repeal", "R_vote_for_skinny_repeal", "R_vote_against_skinny_repeal"), 
            v.names = "votes",
            timevar = "senator_group", 
            times = c("Dem", "R_vote_for_debate", "R_vote_against_debate", "R_vote_for_repeal_replace","R_vote_against_repeal_replace", "R_vote_for_partial_repeal", "R_vote_against_partial_repeal", "R_vote_for_skinny_repeal", "R_vote_against_skinny_repeal"), 
            direction = "long")

Now the data is of the desired long format. I now call my theme that I use for coming graphics in ggplot2.

my_theme <- function() {
  # Define colors for the chart
  palette <- brewer.pal("Greys", n=9)
  color.background = palette[2]
  color.grid.major = palette[4]
  color.panel = palette[3]
  color.axis.text = palette[9]
  color.axis.title = palette[9]
  color.title = palette[9]
  # Create basic construction of chart
  theme_bw(base_size=9, base_family="Palatino") + 
  # Set the entire chart region to a light gray color
  theme(panel.background=element_rect(fill=color.panel, color=color.background)) +
  theme(plot.background=element_rect(fill=color.background, color=color.background)) +
  theme(panel.border=element_rect(color=color.background)) +
  # Format grid
  theme(panel.grid.major=element_line(color=color.grid.major,size=.25)) +
  theme(panel.grid.minor=element_blank()) +
  theme(axis.ticks=element_blank()) +
  # Format legend
  theme(legend.position="right") +
  theme(legend.background = element_rect(fill=color.background)) +
  theme(legend.text = element_text(size=12,color=color.axis.title)) + 
  theme(legend.title = element_blank()) + 
  #Format facet labels
  theme(strip.text.x = element_text(size = 8, face="bold"))+
  # Format title and axes labels these and tick marks
  theme(plot.title=element_text(color=color.title, size=28)) +
  theme(axis.text.x=element_blank()) +
  theme(axis.text.y=element_blank()) +
  theme(axis.title.x=element_blank()) +
  theme(axis.title.y=element_blank()) +
  #Format title and facet_wrap title
  theme(strip.text = element_text(size=8), plot.title = element_text(size = 24, colour = "black", vjust = 1, hjust=0.5))+
  # Plot margins
  theme(plot.margin = unit(c(.5, .2, .2, 2), "cm"))

Let’s make plots vote by vote…

1. Vote to Start Debate

This passed 51-50 on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (Pence cast the tie-brekaing vote)

We subset to the columns relevant to these results.

healthcare_debate_vote<-healthcare[which(healthcare$senator_group=="R_vote_for_debate" | healthcare$senator_group=="R_vote_against_debate"| healthcare$senator_group == "Dem"),]

Plot and save as png:

deb<-ggplot(healthcare_debate_vote, aes("", votes, fill = senator_group)) +
  geom_col(alpha = 1, width = 1) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = c("dodgerblue2", "darkorchid2", "firebrick2"), breaks=c("Dem", "R_vote_against_debate", "R_vote_for_debate"), labels=c("(D) NO     ", "(R) NO     ", "(R) YES     ")) +
  facet_geo(~ state, grid = "us_state_grid2", label="code") +
  scale_y_continuous(expand = c(0, 0)) +
  ggtitle("Senate Votes Visualized:\n Vote to Begin Debate")+
  labs(caption = "Final vote count: 51-50 (passed with Pence casting the tie-breaking vote)\nBernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) caucus with the Democrats\n\nData source: NYTimes | Visualization via Alex Albright ( | DC emoji choice via Jesse White") +
    axis.text.x = element_blank(),
    axis.ticks.x = element_blank(),
    strip.text.x = element_text(size = 7))+
  ggsave("deb.png", width = 12, height = 8, dpi = 800)

Now, I want to add a zipper emoji to DC’s plot space, as DC has no senators but appears in the graph.

# Now call back the plot
background <- image_read("deb.png")
# And bring in a zipper emoji
zipper_raw <- image_read("zipper.png")
zipper <- zipper_raw %>%
new <- image_composite(background, zipper, offset = "+6650+2850")
image_write(new, "deb_final.png", flatten = F)

Here’s the png that I just made: