Download and graph UN votes data with the unvotes package in R

Packages we will need:

library(unvotes)
library(lubridate)
library(tidyverse)
library(magrittr)
library(bbplot)
library(waffle)

How to download UN votes to R.

This package was created by David Robinson. Click here to read the CRAN PDF.

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We will download both the votes roll calls and the issues. Then we can use the inner_join() variable to add them together by the ID.

un_votes <- unvotes::un_roll_calls

un_votes_issues <- unvotes::un_roll_call_issues

un_votes %<>% 
  inner_join(un_votes_issues, by = "rcid")

We can create a year variable with the format() function and extract the year with “%Y”

un_votes %<>% 
  mutate(year = format(date, format = "%Y")) 

And graph out the count of each type of UN vote issue

un_votes %>% 
  group_by(year) %>% 
  count(issue) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = n, group = issue, color = issue)) + 
  geom_line(size = 2) + 
  geom_point(aes(color = issue), fill = "white", 
             shape = 21, size = 2, stroke = 1) +
  scale_x_discrete(breaks = round(seq(min(un_votes$year), max(un_votes$year), by = 10),1)) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + facet_wrap(~issue)

Next we can look at which decade had the most votes across the issues with the waffle package

Click here to read more about the waffle package

un_votes %>% 
  mutate(decade = substr(year, 1, 3)) %>% 
  mutate(decade = paste0(decade, "0s")) %>% 
  
  group_by(decade) %>% 
  count(issue) %>% 
  
  ggplot(aes(fill = issue, values = n)) +
  geom_waffle(color = "white",
              size = 0.3,
              n_rows = 10, 
              flip = TRUE) +
  facet_wrap(~decade, nrow = 1, strip.position = "bottom") + 
  bbplot::bbc_style()  +
  scale_x_discrete(breaks = round(seq(0, 1, by = 0.2),3)) 

The 1980s were a prolific time for the UNGA with voting, with arms control being the largest share of votes. And it has stablised in the decades since.

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Next we can look at votes in total

un_votes %>% 
  mutate(issue = case_when(issue == "Nuclear weapons and nuclear material" ~ "Nukes",
                           issue == "Arms control and disarmament" ~ "Arms",
                           issue == "Palestinian conflict" ~ "Palestine",
                           TRUE ~ as.character(issue))) %>% 
  count(issue) %>%  
  ggplot(aes(x = reorder(issue, n), y = n, fill = as.factor(issue))) + 
  geom_bar(stat = "identity") + 
  coord_polar("x", start = 0, direction = -1)  + 
  ggthemes::theme_pander()  +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + 
    theme(axis.text = element_blank(),
          axis.title.x = element_blank(),
          axis.title.y = element_blank(),
          axis.ticks = element_blank(),
          text = element_text(size = 25),
          panel.grid = element_blank()) + 
    ggtitle(label = "UN Votes by issue ", 
            subtitle = "Source: unvotes package")