Saturday, February 25, 2006

Some Surprises In NJ's Ratings For Indiana's Congressional Delegation

The National Journal has released its annual vote ratings to determine where each member of Congress stands ideologically. Indiana’s Sen. Richard Lugar (R) comes in with a surprisingly moderate rating, making him one of the least conservative of Senate’s Republicans. Sen. Evan Bayh (D) scores a moderately-liberal rating, making him more liberal than is his perception.

According to the ranking, Lugar is more conservative than 53% of the Senate, or 47% more liberal than other senators. Only five Republican senators were scored more liberal than Lugar, including Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-DE), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR). Bayh, on the other hand, is more conservative than 29% of his colleagues, or 71% more liberal than other members. Not surprisingly, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) is the Senate’s most liberal member, while Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is the most conservative member of the Senate.

Among the potential Democratic contenders in the Senate, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) is the most liberal and Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) is the most conservative. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) fall in the middle of the pack. Bayh scored just slightly more liberal than Lieberman. On the Republican side, Sen. George Allen (R-VA) rates as the most conservative of the potential candidates for president in the Senate, while Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the most liberal, although he is less of liberal than Lugar according to the rating. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) fall in the middle of the conservative pack.

On the House side, Rep. Dan Burton (R) stands out as the most conservative member of Indiana’s congressional delegation. He is more conservative than 92% of the House, making him 15th most conservative member of the House. Rep. Mike Pence (R) and Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) come in not too far behind Burton. Pence is more conservative than 89% of the House, while Sodrel is more conservative than 88% of the House. Rep. Mark Souder (R) is more conservative than 82% of the House, Rep. Chris Chocola is more conservative than 78% of the House and Rep. Steve Buyer is more conservative than 77% of the House. Surprisingly, Rep. John Hostettler (R) rates as the least conservative of Indiana’s Republican members. He is more conservative than 64% of his colleagues.

Indiana’s Rep. Julia Carson (D) is among the most liberal of House members. She is more liberal than 84% of the House members, though she is far from the most liberal. Rep. Peter Visclosky, by comparison, is more liberal than 72% of his colleagues. The honor for most liberal member of the House goes to California’s Rep. Pete Stark (D). Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) is rated as the House’s most conservative member.

To arrive at the members’ scores, the National Journal considers hundreds of votes members cast during the most recent session of Congress, divided among social, economic and foreign affairs. There were 75 votes included in the Senate scoring, and 111 votes were considered in the House scoring.

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