Ideology scores for the Utah House of Representatives, 2019
Political scientists have developed advanced algorithms that can calculate each legislator's ideology score based on his or her legislative voting record. Here I use the W-NOMINATE method (it's an acronym, hence the caps). Important caveats:
- Ideology scores have no scale. There is not a number that means "liberal" or "conservative." Scores have only relative meaning, so that a lower score indicates a more liberal voting record than a higher score.
- Scores are only comparable within a single chamber, within a single year. You cannot compare House scores to Senate scores, and you cannot compare 2018 scores to 2019 scores. (That's because of caveat #1: Scores have no scale.)
- Scores reflect what comes to the floor. In a supermajority Republican Legislature, most fights are between moderate Republicans and conservative Republicans, not between Republicans and Democrats. Thus, scores calculated from votes in the Utah Legislature will reveal more daylight among Republicans than among Democrats.
- Zero does not mean "moderate," it just means "the middle of this group of legislators." See the preceding point. Also, "moderate" Utah Republican legislators are usually pretty conservative on a national scale.
- Scores close to 100 are not "most loyal Republicans." Even calling these "most conservative" would be very misleading, since it implies these legislators come closest to some conservative standard. Utah is a very conservative state, and a legislator near the middle of this particular Republican pack is likewise very conservative. Scores near 100 indicate Republicans at the extreme end of the scale, who are to the right of even most Republicans, and perhaps well to the right of the Republican party platform.
You can find a thorough discussion of these ideology scores at the Utah data points blog.
The scores below are for 2019 in the Utah House of Representatives. Select a different year here:
House: - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022
Senate: - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012 - 2013 - 2014 - 2015 - 2016 - 2017 - 2018 - 2019 - 2020 - 2021 - 2022
Contact me for scores
These scores are more useful for political scientists than for political campaigns. I have seen them get misused and misinterpreted in enough election campaigns that I no longer publish them here. If you are a political scientist who would like access to the scores, reach out to me.