113th U.S. Senate ideal points: new faces, same places

Monday April 8, 2013

Filed under: politics — jackman @ 5:58 pm

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve got the 113th U.S. Senate ideal points up and running. Links to deliverables appear above, in the blog header. It is interesting to ask where the new faces line up.

Quelle surprise, there is no partisan overlap in the estimated ideal points. Manchin is the most conservative Democrat, followed by McCaskill; Collins the most liberal Republican, followed by Murkowski.

I was a little surprised to see Flake (R-AZ) and Coburn (R-OK) not out in the extreme of the Republican ideal points, but maybe thats because I’ve been traumatized by their assaults on political science.

Warren’s (D-MA) voting history places her just a little to the left of the median Democratic senator, right next to Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Ben Cardin (MD).

Boxer is a little to the left of Feinstein, but we’re estimating those ideal points rather imprecisely (we’re not seeing a lot of roll calls that split the Democrats).

PNG version of the distribution of ideal points:

I’ve also plotted ideal points against Obama vote share in the state in the 2012 presidential election:

The separation by party is (as usual) the most compelling feature of the data. As she was in the 112th, Murkowski is decidedly more liberal than we’d expect from a Republican senator representing a state in which Obama got 40% of the vote.

Durbin and Menendez are the 2 biggest “more liberal than expected” residuals on the Democratic side; Kerry and the two DE senators (Carper and Coons) are substantially more conservative than we’d expect, given that Obama won 60% of the vote in their respective states. In Kerry’s case we’ve got a truncated voting history given his elevation to SecState, but it will be interesting to see where the DE senators wind up.

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