I have been following the 2020 US election very closely, yes, it is still in the primary season, but I saw a Nolan Chart and thought that I had to create this in Tableau. So found this quite interesting, so hopefully, you will do as well.


We will start by loading the following data into Tableau Desktop / Tableau Public.

PoliticianSocial Issue ScoreEconomic Issue Score
Joe Biden8015
Mike Bloomberg8030
Pete Buttigieg7330
Tulsi Gabbard8533
Elizabeth Warren885
Bernie Sanders983
Amy Klobuchar7010
Donald Trump2083
Mike Pence1095
Andrew Yang8320
Marianne Williamson908
Tom Steyer8318
Bill de Blasio8513
Julian Casto7513
Howard Schultz7333
Cory Booker8018

This information has been collated from the On The Issues website, where they have tracked the positions of politicians and given it a score. You can read more about this here: https://www.ontheissues.org

Calculated Fields

With our data set loaded into Tableau, we are going to create the following Calculated Fields:


SQRT(SQUARE([Social Issues Score])+SQUARE([Economic Issues Score]))

Yes, we get to use the Pythagorean theorem, I did not think I would ever have a need to use this.

Angle (Degrees)

DEGREES(ACOS(ZN([Economic Issues Score])/ZN([Hypotenuse])))

Angle (Degree+45)

ZN([Angle (Degrees)]+45)

Note: We are going to rotate the angle of the point by 45 degrees (we can make this dynamic, but for a Nolan Chart, 45 degrees is what we are looking for).


COS(RADIANS([Angle (Degree+45)]))*[Hypotenuse]


(SIN(RADIANS([Angle (Degree+45)]))*[Hypotenuse])-70.7

Note: We subtract 70.7 to move the centre point to zero. For me, it just makes things a bit neater.

With this done, let us start creating our data visualisation.


We will now build our worksheet:

  • Change the Mark Type to Circle
  • Drag Politician to the Detail Mark
  • Drag X onto the Column Shelf
  • Drag Y onto the Rows Shelf
  • Drag Social Issue Score onto the Color Mark
    • Click on the Color Mark and select Edit Color
    • Set Palette to Red-Blue Diverging
    • Set Stepped Color to 2
    • Click on Advanced and set Centre to 50

If all goes well, you should now see the following:

Now I want you to download the following background image:

This was created using a combination of Excel and GIMP, but we can use this forevermore. With the file downloaded, we will not apply this.

  • In the menu go to Map, Background Images and then select your data source.
  • Click on Add Image…
  • In File or URL browse to the nolan-chart-background
  • In X Field select X
    • Make sure X is selected
    • Set Left to -75
    • Set Right to 75
  • In Y Field select Y
    • Make sure Y is selected
    • Set Left to -75
    • Set Right to 76
  • Set the Washout to 50%
  • Click Ok

You should now see the following:

With this, we now have our Data Visualisation functionally built. So now we will work on cosmetics:

  • Fix the Y-Axis to be from -90 to 90
  • Fix the X-Axis to be from -90 to 90
  • Hide the X and Y-Axis Headers
  • Remove all Grid Lines
  • Remove all Zero Lines
  • Edit the Tooltips

You should now want to end up with the following:

and boom, we are done! I hope you enjoyed creating this data visualization and learned some cool techniques as well. As always, you can find this data visualisation on Tableau Public at https://public.tableau.com/profile/toan.hoang#!/vizhome/NolanChart/NolanCharts


I hope you all enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it and as always do share the love. Do let me know if you experienced any issues recreating this Visualization, and as always, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter @Tableau_Magic. Do also remember to tag me in your work if you use this tutorial.

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