Thursday, January 25, 2018

Just how young is our @campaignforleo Taoiseach? #DataViz #Analytics

According a new Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll out today, our Taoiseach is enjoying excellent approval ratings of 60%. Pat Leahy writes in the Irish Times that Varadkar’s approval jumps to 60% as voters show their satisfaction. Much of this high level of approval is put down to Varadkar's youthfulness and straight-talking. As I have just started two data visualization modules this week at the College, it got me thinking when I saw this headline how could age of the Taoiseach over time visualized, and how does Varadkar compare to the other Taoisigh?

I looked up Wikipdia and one page gives all the information I needed to draw a time series chart in Tableau. With still quite limited skills in Tableau, I managed to create a coloured area chart with year (1922 to 2018) across the X axis, and age along the Y axis. Each shape that you see represents the time each Taoiseach* served and the age they were each year. The raw data consists of simply listing the name of the Taoiseach for every year between 1922 and 2018 in one column, and their age in a second column. One thing that Tableau is not (yet) good at is adding images. So I had to save the Tableau chart as an image, load it into PowerPoint, insert the images (all taken from Wikipedia), and save the slide as an image (I could have done this in a graphics package either). Below is the result:
Click/Tap to enlarge image.
Indeed, Leo Varadkar is our youngest appointed Taoiseach ever - but not by much. W.T Cosgrave was just 42 when he became President of the Executive Council in 1922, and Bertie Ahern was 46 when he was appointed Taoiseach in 1997. You can see that he has a long way to go to reach the longevity of former Taoisigh - Éamon de Valera was President of Executive Council/Taoiseach for 16 years years from 1932 to 1948!

The Tableau interactive worksheet (without images) for above diagram is available in Tableau Public at this link

*The title "Taoiseach" was not used before 1937, the title "President of the Executive Council" was used from 1922 to 1937 instead.

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