Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Retirement of Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)

Senator Olympia Snowe’s (R-Maine) announcement today that she will not seek re-election this year means that the next (113th) Senate will be absent the two most centrist members of the current Senate (Sen. Olympia Snowe is the most liberal Republican, … Continue reading

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The Goldwater Effect: Ideologically Extreme Presidential Nominees and Congressional Elections

Some commentators have recently discussed the possibility that a very conservative Republican presidential nominee (former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) or former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA)) would provide a repeat of 1964: an election in which the Republican Party suffered heavy … Continue reading

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House and Senate Votes on Payroll Tax Cut Extension

Below we use Optimal Classification (OC) in R to plot the House and Senate’s passage of a bill that extends the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits through the rest of the year and avoids making cuts to reimbursements made … Continue reading

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House: Vote on GOP Energy Bill (PIONEERS Act)

Below we use Optimal Classification (OC) in R to plot the House’s vote on a Republican energy bill designed to generate oil revenues for highway improvements by expanding hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”), drilling in ANWR and offshore drilling, and requiring … Continue reading

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Congressional Policy Shifts, 1879-2011

Below we use first dimension DW-NOMINATE scores, which represent legislators’ positions along the familiar ideological (liberal-conservative) spectrum, with lower (negative) scores indicating greater liberalism, and higher (positive) scores denoting conservatism, to plot the chamber means for legislators and winning outcomes … Continue reading

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An Update on Political Polarization (through 2011) – Part IV

In this post we use DW-NOMINATE scores to examine historical patterns in the ideological distribution of the parties in Congress. Specifically, we sort Republican and Democrats in the House and Senate from most liberal to most conservative, then mark the … Continue reading

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Video: The History of American Politics in Two Minutes

Below we use DW-NOMINATE scores to illustrate the ideological composition of each Congress (1st to the current 112th) in the following video. The first dimension (the horizontal or x-axis) represents placement along the familiar liberal-conservative spectrum; the second dimension represents … Continue reading

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An Update on Political Polarization (through 2011) – Part III: The Presidential Square Wave

Below we plot the estimated positions of presidents between 1945 and 2011 along the liberal-conservative scale, which produces a pattern we call the “presidential square wave”. Because we use first dimension (ideological) Common Space DW-NOMINATE scores, presidential locations are directly … Continue reading

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An Update on Political Polarization (through 2011) – Part II

Below we continue our analysis of how the first year of the 112th Congress (2011) fits into the contemporary trend of political polarization. In this post, we use Common Space DW-NOMINATE scores– a measure which permits direct comparison of the … Continue reading

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