National Journal Rankings: Ayotte 36th Most Conservative Senator

The new rankings are out from the National Journal for votes cast by members of Congress in 2012. Republican U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte was ranked as the 36th most conservative senator – which is to say, right of center in the Senate but left of center within the Republican caucus. Ayotte was ranked as more conservative than 77% of senators on economic issues; more conservative than 66% of senators on social issues; and more conservative than 62% of senators on foreign issues.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen ranked as the 19th most liberal senator, which puts her on the left side of her own caucus as well as of the senate as a whole. She is more liberal than 83% of senators on economic issues; more liberal than 64% of senators on social issues; and more liberal than 68% of senators on foreign issues. Conversely, she was more conservative than no other senators on social issues. This is because so many members had identical voting records on such issues that came to a vote last year.

The rankings suggest that both Ayotte and Shaheen are in the mainstreams of their respective parties – but that Ayotte has the more authentic claim to being closer to the political center than is Shaheen.

In the House rankings, former Rep. Frank Guinta ranked as the 103rd most conservative member – barely to the right of center within the Republican caucus. Former Rep. Charlie Bass ranked as the 209th most conservative member. There were 29 members of the GOP caucus ranked as less conservative than Bass.

Guinta ranked as more conservative than 83% of members on social issues; more conservative than 73% of members on foreign issues; and more conservative than 69% of members on economic issues. Among freshmen members, Guinta ranked 42nd most conservative – right in the middle of the 83-member freshman class. Bass ranked as more conservative than 70% of members on foreign issues; 49% on social issues; and 42% on economic issues.

The most conservative senators are Risch of Idaho, Cornyn of Texas, DeMint of South Carolina, Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Johnson of Wisconsin. The most liberal senators are Blumenthal of Connecticut; Udall of New Mexico; Durbin of Illinois; Franken on Minnesota; and Murray of Washington.

The most conservative members of the House was former Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri. Among the 14 Democrats who tied for most liberal were two from Massachusetts, Jim McGovern and John Oliver.

Fergus@ferguscullen.com, March 4, 2013

Author: Fergus Cullen

Fergus Cullen is a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party (2007-2008) and an editorial page columnist for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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