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Compare the Voting Records of Any Two Members of Congress

October 31, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Today we’re excited to be launching a new tool that gives you an at-a-glance way to see where every senator and representative stands on the hottest issues facing Congress:

Head-to-Head Vote Comparison

Choose two people from the drop-down menus for a side-by-side view of their votes, plus information on how often they vote together, how often they vote with their party, and more.

It’s great for doing focused research on candidates or getting the big picture on major policy differences. For the first time in history, two sitting senators are facing off as major party candidates for the Presidency. So, for example, using the tool to compare Senators Barack Obama and John McCain shows information on their Senate records that isn’t available anywhere else.

You can also compare your senators against a “typical” member of both parties. According to our calculations, Sen. Daniel Akaka’s (D-HI) votes with most Democrats most often and Sen. John Isakson’s (R-GA) votes with most Republicans most often. Match your senators up against them to see where they differ from their own party, or how they relate to a typical member of the other party.

To get you started, here are a few interesting comparisons to check out:

Harry Reid vs. Mitch McConnell

Nancy Pelosi vs. John Boehner

Joe Biden vs. Barack Obama

Ron Paul vs. Dennis Kucinich

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Comments

  • gszeto 10/31/2008 10:08am

    hi
    i think this tool and its layout is impressive. i have a few questions:
    1) what are the various user scenarios that you envision someone using this tool?
    2) what does someone do with the comparison information once they have it, for a particular issue?
    3) is there a way to group issues into categories to see general voting trends/inconsistencies?
    4) you have user voting on opencongress.org, but is there a way to neatly show the userbase voting preferences on bills and how they compare to representatives?
    5) and what are the voting trends of users on your site? their profiles?

    thanks for some awesome work – i will be spending a bunch of time on this for sure.
    gong szeto
    santa fe, NM

  • Comm_reply
    donnyshaw 10/31/2008 10:52am

    Hi Gong, Thanks for the great questions.

    1) Well, Obama vs. McCain, obviously, but also for researching your own Members of Congress. It’s also just kind of fun to browse around and come across interesting bits of data, like seeing where the far left and far right form strange voting coalitions.
    2) Well, if you learn, for example, that you like the voting record of one of your senators more than the other, you may want to find out why they are voting that way and consider supporting a chaleenger.
    3) No. But that is a great idea and something we’ll definitely be looking to do.
    4 and 5) We’ve got something launching in the next couple of weeks that addresses these ideas. Stay tuned.

  • Anonymous 11/29/2008 5:01am

    Excellent blog. Would it be possible to compare canidates in a certain dimensin? For instance, many voters seem to care a lot about economic issues? See http://ftp.iza.org/dp3763.pdf

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