Saturday, February 25, 2006

NaJo Ranks Congress

National Journal always does a really interesting job with their annual congressional vote ratings, and this year's batch, released on Friday, is no exception. One of the things that I really enjoy about these ratings - which are based on a complicated formula you can read in its entirety here - is the huge number of ways National Journal is able to present them - for us political junkies, this stuff is great fun.

You can search for a single member's scores, or view each chamber's most conservative and most liberal (liberal House, liberal Senate, conservative House, conservative Senate). Each of those is sortable by Economic Policy, Social Policy and Foreign Policy scores. Another option is to examine the rankings for each state delegation through a handy-dandy clickable map.

The best and most interesting elements of the ratings, however, are a few little additions that the analysts have put together (the following links are PDF files):

- The Fringes: this highlights the most conservative and most liberal members in each chamber. In case you were wondering, Senators Allard, Coburn and Sessions tie in rank for most conservative in the Senate while Kennedy is the top liberal there.

- The Leaders: Rankings for the top Republicans and Democrats in each chamber.

- Twins & Odd Couples: Senators from the same state with very similar or very different voting habits.

- On the Hot Seat: Ratings for those considered most vulnerable in this fall's elections (as per the Cook Political Report.

- House Seniority: This is a noteworthy one, comparing House members' ratings by the year in which the members were first elected.

- Presidential Wannabees (Democrat, Republican): Another interesting one, looking at trend lines in ratings for the possible '08 contenders from each party.

- Finally (I saved the best for last), the Centrists: While of course it's impossible to "label" centrists, these ratings show those with composite scores closest to the center in each chamber. There were definitely some surprises here, including the very long list of House members.

I know I haven't done very much analysis, etc. of the numbers, but I really just wanted to pass them along to you all. If you do have anything thoughts or comments on those that I've posted or if you do some original analysis and would like to share, feel free to do so.

Note: Also posted at TMV.


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