Monday, February 27, 2006

The Underrepresentation of Moderate America

I said I would not post again about the National Journal vote ratings. I lied. I still don’t believe that you can call a yay or nay vote on Bill X as a conservative or liberal vote. Nonetheless, the following observation is interesting and annoying.

Each member was given a composite liberal and conservative score between 1 and 100 (so that a member’s liberal and conservative score added to 100. So if you got a 60 liberal score, you had a 30 conservative score). This score was based solely on votes and had nothing to do with the votes of others (i.e. it wasn’t a relative score).

National Journal did a feature article on the centrists – those that had composite liberal and conservative scores between 33.3 and 66.6. These scores represented the middle third of the ratings (0-33.3; 33.3-66.6; 66.6-100).

One would expect (or at least hope) that about one-third of members of Congress would fall in this category representing one-third of the scores. However, there were only 65 Representatives (15%) and 24 Senators (24%) that fell in this middle 33% of the ratings.

In a country where a plurality of voters identify themselves as moderate, it is unfortunate that our parties have become so polarized that the 45% of American moderates are represented by only 15% of Representatives and 24% of Senators in Congress.


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