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The Year in Voting

December 25, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

CQ has released their 2008 vote comparison report for the Senate and the House – go check it out. The report takes into consideration how often lawmakers votes with the majority of their party, how often they vote with the President (when the President makes clear his position), and how often they show up to vote. You can view all the information in a searchable and sortable table for finding stats on your members of Congress and for drilling down to get into the details, or in an interactive graph that lets you visualize it in a few different ways.

I’ve been having fun playing around with it (but I’m kind of a geek about this stuff). Here are some of the data points that stood out to me:

  • John McCain, who bragged infamously about voting with President Bush over 90 percent of the time, voted with Bush more often than any other senator in 2008 (though he was only present to vote 20 percent of the time, so his score probably doesn’t represent his position fairly).

  • Senators from Maine are not loyal. Both of them, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, voted with their party, the Republicans, less than half of the time. They are the only two members of the Senate with party-unity scores under 50 percent.

  • Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX), who lost his re-election bid in November, is a major outlier among House Democrats. He was by far the least loyal Democrat,voting least often with his party and most often with Bush.

  • Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) voted with President Bush less often than at least 19 House Democrats.

  • Evan Bayh (D-IN) has the lowest party-untiy rating of any Democrat in the Senate – 65 percent.

  • Joe Lieberman (I-CT) votes with Bush as often as the least loyal Senate Democrat, Mary Landrieu (D-LA). But he votes with Democrats more often than at least six Democratic Senators.

  • While voting participation is pretty solid in the Senate, in the House only two lawmakers had 100 percent participation ratings: Jesse Jackson (D-IL) and Jason Altmire (D-PA).

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