How many times is “Science” mentioned in each party’s manifesto?

The U.K. General Election is fast approaching, and each political party is clamouring for the public’s attention. All main parties have now published their manifestos: the document outlining plans and policies the party will implement if in office. In them you will find promises of reducing unemployment, cutting the nation’s deficit, and improving the National Health Service. 

But what about science? I was interested in whether the parties had mentioned science at all in their manifestos. After all, each manifesto page is prime real-estate for publicly-popular policies (hey, how else can the party get nominated?). So, I downloaded each party’s manifesto, and did a search for the occurrence of the word “science”. The results are plotted below, with some caveats:

  1. it was merely a count of the word “science” appearing in each manifesto—I made no judgement about what was being discussed (i.e., it could have said “We will never invest in science”, and would still receive a count of one
  2. The number of pages (i.e., the scope of the real-estate) varied between parties, so there is a second plot which shows the count as a proportion of total page numbers in the manifesto.

R Code for Reproducing the Plots

#------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# clear all
rm(list = ls())

# you need the ggplot2 package for this
library(ggplot2)

# declare parties
Party <- c("Conservative", "Labour", "Lib. Dems.", "UKIP", "SNP",
 "Plaid Cymru", "Green")
Party <- factor(Party, levels = Party)

# count for the word "science"
Count <- c(16, 3, 7, 6, 1, 5, 10)

# pass all to a data frame
allData <- data.frame(Party, Count)
#------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#------------------------------------------------------------------------------
## do the plotting for raw counts of the word "Science"

# define party colours
# (see http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~tzheng/files/Rcolor.pdf)
cols <- c("deepskyblue", "firebrick1", "gold", "purple", "goldenrod", "green4",
 "limegreen")

# now plot
p <- ggplot(data = allData, aes(x = Party, y = Count, fill = Party))
p <- p + geom_bar(stat = "identity")
p <- p + scale_fill_manual(values = cols)
# p <- p + coord_polar(theta = "y") # un-comment if you want a pie-chart
p <- p + guides(fill = FALSE)
p
#------------------------------------------------------------------------------

#------------------------------------------------------------------------------
## do the plotting of the proportion of the occurence "Science" to the number
# of pages in the manifesto

# how many pages in each party's manifesto?
nPages <- c(84, 86, 158, 76, 56, 64, 84)

# what is the proportion?
Proportion <- Count/nPages

# remove NAs
Proportion[is.nan(Proportion)] <- 0

# now plot
p <- ggplot(data = allData, aes(x = Party, y = Proportion, fill = Party))
p <- p + geom_bar(stat = "identity")
p <- p + scale_fill_manual(values = cols)
# p <- p + coord_polar(theta = "y") # un-comment if you want a pie-chart
p <- p + guides(fill = FALSE)
p
#------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

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