I crunched the numbers on the collective partisanship of Republican and Democrats in the Virginia House and Senate, and I think that the results are really interesting, insofar as they support the perception that House Republicans are much farther to the right than House Democrats are to the left and that Senate Republicans are closer to the center than Senate Democrats or either of the parties in the House.
This was done by analyzing three different natures of copatroning relationships between legislators:
- The party membership of all of the legislators who have copatroned all of a legislator’s bills.
- The party membership of all of the legislators who have introduced bills that this legislator has co-patroned.
- The party membership of all of the legislators who have co-patroned bills that this legislator has also co-patroned.
These three percentages are then averaged and scaled. A legislator with a perfect balance between the legislators in those cosponsoring relationships—and by “perfect” I don’t mean 50/50, but I mean in proportion to each party’s representation in their respective chamber—would have a score of 0. A legislator who only worked with Democrats would have a score of -100, and a legislator who only worked with Republicans would have a score of +100. These numbers don’t tell us anything about ideology, only about partisanship—the extent to which members of these parties group together to the exclusion of members of the other party. For examples of these results in action, see the Richmond Sunlight pages for either of my two legislators, Del. Rob Bell or Sen. Creigh Deeds.
Here are the results from averaging these numbers across parties and chambers:
So not only can we see that the parties’ reputations are borne out, but that the House’s two independents are significantly to the right of the center, though not as far to the right as the average House Republican.
I can see that I’m going to have fun with the results of these new partisanship calculations.