Saturday, June 14, 2008

Ranking the Candidates by their 'Clinton Score'

Cross-posted from My DD with the permission of its author, protothad

We have a unique opportunity this election. The remaining candidates are both sitting members of the Senate. That allows us to go beyond just examining their stated platforms to actually compare their voting records. Furthermore, since Clinton is also a senator, her supporters have the opportunity to compare each candidate's voting record to Clinton's.

To this end, I have extracted each Senator's voting record from and calculated some stats. To make it an apples to apples comparison, I am using only the votes that occured when all three senators were in office. That amounts to a sample of 225 votes according to

The senators are consider to 'agree' on a vote if they voted the same, whether that was Yes, No, Present, or if they both missed it. That means, if one of them voted Yes and the other missed the vote, it is still counted as a mark against, even if they agreed in principle on the issue. If they both missed the vote, they are counted as 'agreeing' even if they might not.

Using this method, we find that Obama and Clinton agree 88.4% of the time. McCain and Clinton agree only 36.9% of the time (less than half as much). McCain and Obama agree 40.4% of the time (also less than half as much). Let me say that one more time just to drive the point home.

Obama's Clinton score = 88.4%
McCain's Clinton score = 36.9%

If you support Clinton for the stands she takes on the issues, it seems rather clear which Presidential candidate is most likely to support her agenda. Obama voted with Clinton nearly 90 percent of the time, more than 50 percent more than McCain.

I am working on another diary that will compare their votes based on issue. It will also attempt to adjust the 'score' by weighing missed votes differently from real disagreements. Taking it a step farther, I could allow one to compare each candidate's record to other Senators (curious what their Feingold scores are?) and even allow you to 'vote' on each bill yourself and see how your views match the candidates. I'll be sure to include some pretty graphs in those diaries. Nevertheless, I thought this first pass at the data was interesting enough to get the talking point out there. Remember, Obama and Clinton agree almost 90 percent of the time. Clinton and McCain agree barely more than a third of the time.

Raw voting record data can be found at


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