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Political science . . . tweeted by the Governator

Here. And here’s the background:

Boris writes:

State Senator Abel Maldonado was nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the lieutenant governorship to replace John Garamendi, who was recently elected to the US House of Representatives.

Despite support from the Republican Governor and Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, Maldonado faces a very difficult confirmation. Democrats accuse him of being too conservative. At the same time, the influential California Republican Assembly recently called for his defeat.

Can they both be right? Can Maldonado be simultaneously liberal and conservative? Yes. But only in California!

npat_boxplot_marked_maldonado_thumb.png

Boris continues:

[Maldonado] in the most liberal 3rd percentiles in the party. That is, 97% of all Republicans who have ever served in either the Assembly or the Senate are more conservative than him.

But his voting record is only that liberal in a state like California’s. He’s by far more conservative than even the most right-wing Democrat in the state. . . . For a comparison, Maldonado is far more conservative than Scott Brown, who scores at -0.17.

5 Comments

  1. pwyll says:

    Great example of how dysfunctional California's political structure is.

  2. Jed Harris says:

    California is the most extreme. But a simple criterion, both bars with their center of gravity beyond the averages, and space between the D and R error bars, also lets in Washington, Utah, Wisconsin and Colorado.

    We should have one or more scalar metrics of "polarization" that would let us rank the states, sessions of congress, etc. It seems like an obvious one would simply be overlap between the D and R distributions.

    Is anyone computing these metrics?

  3. Geof Gee says:

    But it appears that the state legislator data from the NPAT survey has a very low response rate. A September 1, 2009 presentation at the University of Chicago (my quick google search) reports that the response rate is 34% for state legislators. Are these results robust enough to make a strong conclusion or statement?

  4. Geof Gee says:

    Oh … wait a second.

    So the small (and biased?) sample NPAT scores are modeled by their voting records … and the chart uses those model results. Sorry for using up $.01 of cyberspace resources!

  5. Steve Rein says:

    What I want to know is why California has a greater divide between Rs and Ds than the other states.

    Like Washington State and Colorado (dunno about WI and UT), the natural regions in the state tend to be rather different, politically. Certainly more so than I believe other states to be.

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