Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cool Graph, II

Here's a interesting chart on the ideological positions of state legislatures relative to their US congressional counterparts. Given this graph it is not at all surprising that California is screwed (particularly given its various supermajority rules):

The estimates are based on state legislative voting, which might make you wonder how you could possibly compare legislators in one state with those in another. The trick is that some state representatives (for example, Barack Obama) also end up in Congress. There are enough of these overlap cases that you can put legislators from all 50 states on a common scale.


Here’s Boris’s graph showing the estimated positions of Democratic and Republican legislators in all 50 states in the past decade:


It would be interesting to see how this has changed over the years. I would be curious to see if politics has gotten more centric or extreme over the past few decades.
This might make me seem dumb but I have no idea how to read that graph. What are the values at the bottom representing?
I had no idea Oregonian Republicans were so liberal. I would also like to see the trends for this graph over time. Would the ideologies of state legislatures change depending on the presidential party or congressional majority? Alternatively, are state level government officials more responsive to their constituents because they spend most of their time in their respective states rather than in Washington DC?
Well now I know why it's so hard to convince my New England relatives that California Republicans really are that crazy; their Republicans are much more moderate than the ones my parents have to deal with. Also, in case anybody cares, California's extremism is a product of lots of gerrymandering to keep each district safely within a party. The result is what you see on the graph: a legislature made up of extremists who are unwilling to negotiate. At all. Which becomes a real problem when they need a supermajority to pass something, like, say, the budget. So yes, California is screwed.
I think this is interesting. Fits in the gap between D’s and R’s in California.
I don't know about the republicans in Oregon being so liberal. My family is and knows probably a third of the republicans in Oregon (lol) and it doesn't seeem that this is the case. I have my doubts but it gives us an interesting look into the actual levels of conservativism/liberalism within the parties.
Really interesting to see this tendencies displayed in such a way. Looks very different to the graphs one usually sees.
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