Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Senators

Over the past few weeks I've been analyzing Minnesota's congressional delegation, focusing first on the state's house delegation, and then on some specific house members. Now it's time to look at the state's Senators.

You can go here for a more detailed explanation of what the different numbers represent; briefly, the "DW-Nom" number is the legislators DW-Nominate score and the "PVI" number is Minnesota's Partisan Voting Index score. The "PVI v ave" and the "DW-N v ave" represent a comparison between the legislators score and the average score of their party caucus. The "SILVER" score is a composite of these two comparisons and the rank number is the legislators SILVER rank among their party caucus.

This shouldn't be that surprising; Al Franken is one of the most valuable liberals in the Senate, behind only Russ Feingold (-0.757) and Sherrod Brown (-0.375) in SILVER and his DW-Nominate score is to the left of even Keith Ellison, making him the state's most liberal legislator. Amy Klobuchar meanwhile is the only member of Minnesota's congressional delegation who has a SILVER score on the wrong side of 0 for her party.

In a strange coincidence Wisconsin has a similar situation with Russ Feingold being the most liberal member of the Senate, according to SILVER, and Herb Kohl (0.112) ranking 44th, tied with Amy Klobuchar.

Let's take a look at another chart.

Here you can see the DW-Nominate score's of Minnesota's last eight Senators, as well as a graph of the total DW-Nominate scores for the state's two active Senators combined. As you can see, besides the 107th congress when Minnesota had an all liberal Senate delegation, the total DW-Nominate score of the current Klobuchar/Franken alignment is as liberal as Minnesota's had since the Humphrey/Mondale/McCarthy days. And that probably won't change anytime soon, given the current dynamics there's a pretty good chance that this will be our Senate configuration until at least 2014 when Al Franken will be up for re-election.

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