The National Journal explains how the rankings are calculated:
For the past three decades, National Journal has rated members of Congress based on selected roll-call votes from the previous year to see how they compared with each other on an ideological scale. Unlike interest groups that rate lawmakers, National Journal does not attempt to say how members should have voted. Our goal is to describe how they voted in comparison with one another.
The ratings system was devised in 1981 under the direction of Bill Schneider, a political analyst and commentator, and a contributing editor to National Journal.
For the 2012 ratings, National Journal examined all of the roll-call votes in the second session of the 112th Congress—659 in the House and 251 in the Senate—and identified the ones that show ideological distinctions between members. Many votes did not make the cut—those that involve noncontroversial issues or that fall along regional lines, for instance. In the end, 116 votes in each chamber were selected and were categorized as economic, foreign, or social.
Do you agree with the list? Is there anyone you think should’ve made the top 15 but didn’t? Weigh in below.