National Journal has released its annual rankings of Congressional Vote Rankings for 2009. The Vote rankings are calculated based on an evaluation of each member’s votes on several key foreign policy, economic and social legislation in 2009. You can find out more about the calculations by reading about their methodology originally developed in 1981.
“Members were then ranked from the most liberal to the most conservative in each issue area. These rankings were used to assign liberal and conservative percentile ratings to all members of Congress.
The liberal percentile score means that the member voted more liberal than that percentage of his or her colleagues in that issue area in 2009. The conservative figure means that the member voted more conservative than that percentage of his or her colleagues.
For example, a House member in the 30th percentile of liberals and the 60th percentile of conservatives on economic issues voted more liberal than 30 percent of the House and more conservative than 60 percent of the House on those issues, and was tied with the remaining 10 percent. The scores do not mean that the member voted liberal 30 percent of the time and voted conservative 60 percent of the time.”
I was curious to see how our Congressional delegation fared in the rankings and wasn’t too surprised by the results. On an aggregate basis here’s how they ranked among their peers. Gwen Moore, Democrat, was our most liberal representative ranked 95.2% liberal on a composite basis for all three categories, while Joe Sensenbrenner, Republican, was our most conservative representative ranked 84.7% conservative.
In yet another metric showing how disconnected he his from his District, despite his national profile, Paul Ryan ranked 80.7% conservative and was ranked #89 out of the total House. Given the profile of his District, it still amazes me that he continues to get re-elected despite his votes.
Interestingly enough, the wide range of our representation from liberal to conservative balances out with the state being considered a middle of the road centrist state according to the National Journal.