Subject: Cook Partisan Voting Index (CPVI or PVI) from
Article date: January 2009

The Cook Partisan Voting Index (CPVI), sometimes referred to as simply the Partisan Voting Index (PVI), is a measurement of how strongly an American congressional district or state leans toward one political party compared to the nation as a whole. It was developed in 1997 by Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan political newsletter, working with Polidata, a political statistics analysis firm.

The index for each congressional district is derived by averaging its results from the prior two presidential elections and comparing them to national results. The index indicates which party's candidate was more successful in that district, as well as the number of percentage points by which its results exceeded the national average. The index is formatted as a letter + number; in a district whose CPVI score is R+2, recent Republican presidential candidates received 2 percentage points more votes than the national average. Likewise, a CPVI score of D+3 shows the Democrats received 3 percentage points more votes than the national average.


The most Democratic congressional districts in the country are New York's 15th and 16th at D+41, while the most Republican districts are Alabama's 6th and Texas's 13th with a PVI of R+29. As for states as a whole, Utah is the most Republican at R+21, and Hawaii and Vermont are the most Democratic at D+13 (and D+39 for the District of Columbia). If all states voted exactly on partisan lines according to this index in a presidential election, the Democrats would win the election 278-260 electoral votes.

The most Republican congressional districts to be represented by Democrats are Texas's 17th congressional district and Mississippi's 4th congressional district, which have a CPVI of R+20. The districts are represented by Chet Edwards and Gene Taylor, respectively. The most Democratic congressional district to be represented by a Republican is Louisiana's 2nd congressional district, which has a PVI of D+25. The district is represented by Joseph Cao.

There are currently 8 Democratic-leaning districts represented by Republicans and 69 Republican-leaning districts represented by Democrats. Three districts represented by Republicans have Cook PVIs greater than D+5; 35 districts represented by Democrats have Cook PVIs greater than R+5.

[edit] By congressional district

According to the Cook Political Report for the 110th U.S. Congress, calculated according to the results of the 2004 and the 2008 U.S. presidential elections. The party representations are based on the winners of the 2008 U.S. House elections.

State  ↓ District PVI  ↓ Party of
Alabama 1st 085R+14 Republican (Bonner)
Alabama 2nd 083R+16 Democratic (Bright)
Alabama 3rd 090R+9 Republican (Rogers)
Alabama 4th 073R+26 Republican (Aderholt)
Alabama 5th 087R+12 Democratic (Griffith)
Alabama 6th 070R+29 Republican (Bachus)
Alabama 7th 118D+18 Democratic (Davis, Artur)
Alaska At-large 086R+13 Republican (Young)
Arizona 1st 093R+6 Democratic
Arizona 2nd 086R+13 Republican
Arizona 3rd 090R+9 Republican
Arizona 4th 113D+13 Democratic
Arizona 5th 094R+5 Democratic
Arizona 6th 084R+15 Republican
Arizona 7th 106D+6 Democratic
Arizona 8th 095R+4 Democratic
Arkansas 1st 091R+8 Democratic (Berry)
Arkansas 2nd 094R+5 Democratic (Snyder)
Arkansas 3rd 083R+16 Republican (Boozman)
Arkansas 4th 092R+7 Democratic (Ross)
California 1st 113D+13 Democratic
California 2nd 088R+11 Republican
California 3rd 093R+6 Republican
California 4th 089R+10 Republican
California 5th 115D+15 Democratic
California 6th 123D+23 Democratic
California 7th 119D+19 Democratic
California 8th 135D+35 Democratic
California 9th 137D+37 Democratic
California 10th 111D+11 Democratic
California 11th 098R+1 Democratic
California 12th 123D+23 Democratic
California 13th 122D+22 Democratic
California 14th 121D+21 Democratic
California 15th 115D+15 Democratic
California 16th 116D+16 Democratic
California 17th 119D+19 Democratic
California 18th 104D+4 Democratic
California 19th 090R+9 Republican
California 20th 105D+5 Democratic
California 21st 086R+13 Republican
California 22nd 083R+16 Republican
California 23rd 112D+12 Democratic
California 24th 095R+4 Republican
California 25th 093R+6 Republican
California 26th 096R+3 Republican
California 27th 113D+13 Democratic
California 28th 123D+23 Democratic
California 29th 114D+14 Democratic
California 30th 118D+18 Democratic
California 31st 129D+29 Democratic
California 32nd 115D+15 Democratic
California 33rd 135D+35 Democratic
California 34th 122D+22 Democratic
California 35th 131D+31 Democratic
California 36th 112D+12 Democratic
California 37th 126D+26 Democratic
California 38th 118D+18 Democratic
California 39th 112D+12 Democratic
California 40th 091R+8 Republican
California 41st 089R+10 Republican
California 42nd 089R+10 Republican
California 43rd 113D+13 Democratic
California 44th 093R+6 Republican
California 45th 096R+3 Republican
California 46th 093R+6 Republican
California 47th 104D+4 Democratic
California 48th 093R+6 Republican
California 49th 089R+10 Republican
California 50th 096R+3 Republican
California 51st 108D+8 Democratic
California 52nd 090R+9 Republican
California 53rd 114D+14 Democratic
Colorado 1st 121D+21 Democratic
Colorado 2nd 111D+11 Democratic
Colorado 3rd 094R+5 Democratic
Colorado 4th 093R+6 Democratic
Colorado 5th 085R+14 Republican
Colorado 6th 091R+8 Republican
Colorado 7th 104D+4 Democratic
Connecticut 1st 113D+13 Democratic
Connecticut 2nd 106D+6 Democratic
Connecticut 3rd 109D+9 Democratic
Connecticut 4th 105D+5 Democratic
Connecticut 5th 102D+2 Democratic
Delaware At-large 107D+7 Republican
District of Columbia At-large 139D+39 Democratic
Florida 1st 078R+21 Republican
Florida 2nd 093R+6 Democratic
Florida 3rd 118D+18 Democratic
Florida 4th 082R+17 Republican
Florida 5th 090R+9 Republican
Florida 6th 089R+10 Republican
Florida 7th 092R+7 Republican
Florida 8th 097R+2 Democratic
Florida 9th 093R+6 Republican
Florida 10th 098R+1 Republican
Florida 11th 111D+11 Democratic
Florida 12th 093R+6 Republican
Florida 13th 093R+6 Republican
Florida 14th 088R+11 Republican
Florida 15th 093R+6 Republican
Florida 16th 094R+5 Republican
Florida 17th 134D+34 Democratic
Florida 18th 096R+3 Republican
Florida 19th 115D+15 Democratic
Florida 20th 113D+13 Democratic
Florida 21st 094R+5 Republican
Florida 22nd 101D+1 Democratic
Florida 23rd 128D+28 Democratic
Florida 24th 095R+4 Democratic
Florida 25th 094R+5 Republican
Georgia 1st 083R+16 Republican (Kingston)
Georgia 2nd 101D+1 Democratic (Bishop)
Georgia 3rd 080R+19 Republican (Westmoreland)
Georgia 4th 124D+24 Democratic (Johnson)
Georgia 5th 126D+26 Democratic (Lewis)
Georgia 6th 080R+19 Republican (Price)
Georgia 7th 083R+16 Republican (Linder)
Georgia 8th 089R+10 Democratic (Marshall)
Georgia 9th 071R+28 Republican (Deal)
Georgia 10th 084R+15 Republican (Broun)
Georgia 11th 079R+20 Republican (Gingrey)
Georgia 12th 101D+1 Democratic (Barrow)
Georgia 13th 115D+15 Democratic (Scott)
Hawaii 1st 111D+11 Democratic
Hawaii 2nd 114D+14 Democratic
Idaho 1st 081R+18 Democratic
Idaho 2nd 082R+17 Republican
Illinois 1st 134D+34 Democratic
Illinois 2nd 136D+36 Democratic
Illinois 3rd 111D+11 Democratic
Illinois 4th 132D+32 Democratic
Illinois 5th 119D+19 Democratic
Illinois 6th 100EVEN Republican
Illinois 7th 135D+35 Democratic
Illinois 8th 098R+1 Democratic
Illinois 9th 120D+20 Democratic
Illinois 10th 106D+6 Republican
Illinois 11th 098R+1 Democratic
Illinois 12th 103D+3 Democratic
Illinois 13th 098R+1 Republican
Illinois 14th 098R+1 Democratic
Illinois 15th 093R+6 Republican
Illinois 16th 097R+2 Republican
Illinois 17th 103D+3 Democratic
Illinois 18th 093R+6 Republican
Illinois 19th 090R+9 Republican
Indiana 1st 108D+8 Democratic
Indiana 2nd 097R+2 Democratic
Indiana 3rd 085R+14 Republican
Indiana 4th 085R+14 Republican
Indiana 5th 082R+17 Republican
Indiana 6th 089R+10 Republican
Indiana 7th 114D+14 Democratic
Indiana 8th 091R+8 Democratic
Indiana 9th 093R+6 Democratic
Iowa 1st 105D+5 Democratic
Iowa 2nd 107D+7 Democratic
Iowa 3rd 101D+1 Democratic
Iowa 4th 100EVEN Republican
Iowa 5th 090R+9 Republican
Kansas 1st 076R+23 Republican
Kansas 2nd 090R+9 Republican
Kansas 3rd 096R+3 Democratic
Kansas 4th 085R+14 Republican
Kentucky 1st 084R+15 Republican (Whitfield)
Kentucky 2nd 084R+15 Republican (Guthrie)
Kentucky 3rd 102D+2 Democratic (Yarmuth)
Kentucky 4th 085R+14 Republican (Davis, Geoff)
Kentucky 5th 083R+16 Republican (Rogers)
Kentucky 6th 090R+9 Democratic (Chandler)
Louisiana 1st 075R+24 Republican (Scalise)
Louisiana 2nd 128D+25 Republican (Cao)
Louisiana 3rd 087R+12 Democratic (Melancon)
Louisiana 4th 088R+11 Republican (Fleming)
Louisiana 5th 085R+14 Republican (Alexander)
Louisiana 6th 089R+10 Republican (Cassidy)
Louisiana 7th 085R+14 Republican (Boustany)
Maine 1st 108D+8 Democratic
Maine 2nd 103D+3 Democratic
Maryland 1st 086R+13 Democratic
Maryland 2nd 107D+7 Democratic
Maryland 3rd 106D+6 Democratic
Maryland 4th 131D+31 Democratic
Maryland 5th 111D+11 Democratic
Maryland 6th 086R+13 Republican
Maryland 7th 125D+25 Democratic
Maryland 8th 121D+21 Democratic
Massachusetts 1st 114D+14 Democratic
Massachusetts 2nd 109D+9 Democratic
Massachusetts 3rd 109D+9 Democratic
Massachusetts 4th 114D+14 Democratic
Massachusetts 5th 108D+8 Democratic
Massachusetts 6th 107D+7 Democratic
Massachusetts 7th 115D+15 Democratic
Massachusetts 8th 132D+32 Democratic
Massachusetts 9th 111D+11 Democratic
Massachusetts 10th 105D+5 Democratic
Michigan 1st 096R+3 Democratic
Michigan 2nd 092R+7 Republican
Michigan 3rd 093R+6 Republican
Michigan 4th 096R+3 Republican
Michigan 5th 111D+11 Democratic
Michigan 6th 100EVEN Republican
Michigan 7th 097R+2 Democratic
Michigan 8th 097R+2 Republican
Michigan 9th 102D+2 Democratic
Michigan 10th 094R+5 Republican
Michigan 11th 100EVEN Republican
Michigan 12th 112D+12 Democratic
Michigan 13th 131D+31 Democratic
Michigan 14th 134D+34 Democratic
Michigan 15th 113D+13 Democratic
Minnesota 1st 098R+1 Democratic
Minnesota 2nd 095R+4 Republican
Minnesota 3rd 100EVEN Republican
Minnesota 4th 113D+13 Democratic
Minnesota 5th 123D+23 Democratic
Minnesota 6th 092R+7 Republican
Minnesota 7th 094R+5 Democratic
Minnesota 8th 103D+3 Democratic
Mississippi 1st 085R+14 Democratic (Childers)
Mississippi 2nd 112D+12 Democratic (Thompson)
Mississippi 3rd 084R+15 Republican (Harper)
Mississippi 4th 079R+20 Democratic (Taylor)
Missouri 1st 127D+27 Democratic
Missouri 2nd 090R+9 Republican
Missouri 3rd 107D+7 Democratic
Missouri 4th 085R+14 Democratic
Missouri 5th 110D+10 Democratic
Missouri 6th 092R+7 Republican
Missouri 7th 082R+17 Republican
Missouri 8th 084R+15 Republican
Missouri 9th 090R+9 Republican
Montana At-large 092R+7 Republican
Nebraska 1st 088R+11 Republican
Nebraska 2nd 093R+6 Republican
Nebraska 3rd 075R+24 Republican
Nevada 1st 110D+10 Democratic
Nevada 2nd 094R+5 Republican
Nevada 3rd 102D+2 Democratic
New Hampshire 1st 100EVEN Democratic
New Hampshire 2nd 103D+3 Democratic
New Jersey 1st 112D+12 Democratic
New Jersey 2nd 101D+1 Republican
New Jersey 3rd 098R+1 Democratic
New Jersey 4th 093R+6 Republican
New Jersey 5th 092R+7 Republican
New Jersey 6th 108D+8 Democratic
New Jersey 7th 096R+3 Republican
New Jersey 8th 110D+10 Democratic
New Jersey 9th 109D+9 Democratic
New Jersey 10th 133D+33 Democratic
New Jersey 11th 092R+7 Republican
New Jersey 12th 105D+5 Democratic
New Jersey 13th 121D+21 Democratic
New Mexico 1st 105D+5 Democratic
New Mexico 2nd 093R+6 Democratic
New Mexico 3rd 107D+7 Democratic
New York 1st 100EVEN Democratic
New York 2nd 104D+4 Democratic
New York 3rd 095R+4 Republican
New York 4th 106D+6 Democratic
New York 5th 112D+12 Democratic
New York 6th 136D+36 Democratic
New York 7th 126D+26 Democratic
New York 8th 122D+22 Democratic
New York 9th 105D+5 Democratic
New York 10th 138D+38 Democratic
New York 11th 138D+38 Democratic
New York 12th 133D+33 Democratic
New York 13th 095R+4 Democratic
New York 14th 126D+26 Democratic
New York 15th 141D+41 Democratic
New York 16th 141D+41 Democratic
New York 17th 118D+18 Democratic
New York 18th 109D+9 Democratic
New York 19th 096R+3 Democratic
New York 20th 097R+2 Democratic
New York 21st 106D+6 Democratic
New York 22nd 106D+6 Democratic
New York 23rd 098R+1 Democratic
New York 24th 097R+2 Democratic
New York 25th 103D+3 Democratic
New York 26th 093R+6 Republican
New York 27th 104D+4 Democratic
New York 28th 115D+15 Democratic
New York 29th 094R+5 Democratic
North Carolina 1st 109D+9 Democratic (Butterfield)
North Carolina 2nd 097R+2 Democratic (Etheridge, Bob)
North Carolina 3rd 083R+16 Republican (Jones, Walter)
North Carolina 4th 108D+8 Democratic (Price, David)
North Carolina 5th 084R+15 Republican (Foxx)
North Carolina 6th 081R+18 Republican (Coble)
North Carolina 7th 094R+5 Democratic (McIntyre)
North Carolina 8th 097R+2 Democratic (Kissel)
North Carolina 9th 088R+11 Republican (Myrick)
North Carolina 10th 082R+17 Republican (McHenry, Patrick)
North Carolina 11th 093R+6 Democratic (Shuler)
North Carolina 12th 116D+16 Democratic (Watt, Mel)
North Carolina 13th 105D+5 Democratic (Miller, Brad)
North Dakota At-large 089R+10 Democratic
Ohio 1st 101D+1 Democratic
Ohio 2nd 086R+13 Republican
Ohio 3rd 094R+5 Republican
Ohio 4th 084R+15 Republican
Ohio 5th 090R+9 Republican
Ohio 6th 097R+2 Democratic
Ohio 7th 092R+7 Republican
Ohio 8th 085R+14 Republican
Ohio 9th 110D+10 Democratic
Ohio 10th 108D+8 Democratic
Ohio 11th 132D+32 Democratic
Ohio 12th 101D+1 Republican
Ohio 13th 105D+5 Democratic
Ohio 14th 096R+3 Republican
Ohio 15th 101D+1 Democratic
Ohio 16th 095R+4 Democratic
Ohio 17th 112D+12 Democratic
Ohio 18th 092R+7 Democratic
Oklahoma 1st 083R+16 Republican
Oklahoma 2nd 085R+14 Democratic
Oklahoma 3rd 075R+24 Republican
Oklahoma 4th 081R+18 Republican
Oklahoma 5th 086R+13 Republican
Oregon 1st 108D+8 Democratic
Oregon 2nd 089R+10 Republican
Oregon 3rd 119D+19 Democratic
Oregon 4th 102D+2 Democratic
Oregon 5th 101D+1 Democratic
Pennsylvania 1st 135D+35 Democratic
Pennsylvania 2nd 138D+38 Democratic
Pennsylvania 3rd 096R+3 Democratic
Pennsylvania 4th 093R+6 Democratic
Pennsylvania 5th 090R+9 Republican
Pennsylvania 6th 104D+4 Republican
Pennsylvania 7th 103D+3 Democratic
Pennsylvania 8th 102D+2 Democratic
Pennsylvania 9th 082R+17 Republican
Pennsylvania 10th 091R+8 Democratic
Pennsylvania 11th 104D+4 Democratic
Pennsylvania 12th 098R+1 Democratic
Pennsylvania 13th 107D+7 Democratic
Pennsylvania 14th 119D+19 Democratic
Pennsylvania 15th 102D+2 Republican
Pennsylvania 16th 091R+8 Republican
Pennsylvania 17th 093R+6 Democratic
Pennsylvania 18th 093R+6 Republican
Pennsylvania 19th 087R+12 Republican
Rhode Island 1st 113D+13 Democratic
Rhode Island 2nd 109D+9 Democratic
South Carolina 1st 089R+10 Republican (Brown)
South Carolina 2nd 090R+9 Republican (Wilson)
South Carolina 3rd 082R+17 Republican (Barrett)
South Carolina 4th 084R+15 Republican (Inglis)
South Carolina 5th 092R+7 Democratic (Spratt)
South Carolina 6th 112D+12 Democratic (Clyburn)
South Dakota At-large 090R+9 Democratic
Tennessee 1st 078R+21 Republican (Roe)
Tennessee 2nd 083R+16 Republican (Duncan)
Tennessee 3rd 086R+13 Republican (Wamp)
Tennessee 4th 086R+13 Democratic (Davis, Lincoln)
Tennessee 5th 103D+3 Democratic (Cooper)
Tennessee 6th 086R+13 Democratic (Gordon)
Tennessee 7th 081R+18 Republican (Blackburn)
Tennessee 8th 093R+6 Democratic (Tanner)
Tennessee 9th 123D+23 Democratic (Cohen)
Texas 1st 078R+21 Republican (Gohmert)
Texas 2nd 086R+13 Republican (Poe)  
Texas 3rd 085R+14 Republican (Johnson, Sam)
Texas 4th 078R+21 Republican     (Hall, Ralph)   
Texas 5th 082R+17 Republican (Hensarling)
Texas 6th 084R+15 Republican (Barton)
Texas 7th 086R+13 Republican (Culberson)
Texas 8th 074R+25 Republican (Brady)
Texas 9th 122D+22 Democratic (Green, Al)
Texas 10th 089R+10 Republican (McCaul)
Texas 11th 071R+28 Republican (Conaway)
Texas 12th 083R+16 Republican (Granger)
Texas 13th 070R+29 Republican (Thornberry)
Texas 14th 081R+18 Republican   (Paul, Ron)  
Texas 15th 103D+3 Democratic (Hinojosa)
Texas 16th 110D+10 Democratic (Reyes)
Texas 17th 079R+20 Democratic (Edwards, Chet)
Texas 18th 124D+24 Democratic (Jackson-Lee)
Texas 19th 073R+26 Republican (Neugebauer)
Texas 20th 108D+8 Democratic (Gonzalez)
Texas 21st 085R+14 Republican (Smith, Lamar)
Texas 22nd 086R+13 Republican (Olson)
Texas 23rd 095R+4 Democratic (Rodriguez)
Texas 24th 088R+11 Republican (Marchant)
Texas 25th 106D+6 Democratic (Doggert)
Texas 26th 086R+13 Republican (Burgess)
Texas 27th 097R+2 Democratic (Ortiz)
Texas 28th 100EVEN Democratic (Cueller)
Texas 29th 108D+8 Democratic (Green, Gene)
Texas 30th 127D+27 Democratic (Johnson, Eddie)
Texas 31st 085R+14 Republican (Carter)
Texas 32nd 091R+8 Republican (Sessions, Pete)
Utah 1st 078R+21 Republican
Utah 2nd 084R+15 Democratic
Utah 3rd 073R+26 Republican
Vermont At-large 113D+13 Democratic
Virginia 1st 092R+7 Republican
Virginia 2nd 094R+5 Democratic
Virginia 3rd 120D+20 Democratic
Virginia 4th 095R+4 Republican
Virginia 5th 094R+5 Democratic
Virginia 6th 087R+12 Republican
Virginia 7th 090R+9 Republican
Virginia 8th 116D+16 Democratic
Virginia 9th 088R+11 Democratic
Virginia 10th 097R+2 Republican
Virginia 11th 102D+2 Democratic
Washington 1st 109D+9 Democratic
Washington 2nd 103D+3 Democratic
Washington 3rd 100EVEN Democratic
Washington 4th 086R+13 Republican
Washington 5th 092R+7 Republican
Washington 6th 105D+5 Democratic
Washington 7th 131D+31 Democratic
Washington 8th 103D+3 Republican
Washington 9th 105D+5 Democratic
West Virginia 1st 090R+9 Democratic
West Virginia 2nd 091R+8 Republican
West Virginia 3rd 093R+6 Democratic
Wisconsin 1st 097R+2 Republican
Wisconsin 2nd 115D+15 Democratic
Wisconsin 3rd 104D+4 Democratic
Wisconsin 4th 122D+22 Democratic
Wisconsin 5th 087R+12 Republican
Wisconsin 6th 095R+4 Republican
Wisconsin 7th 103D+3 Democratic
Wisconsin 8th 097R+2 Democratic
Wyoming At-large 079R+20 Republican

[edit] By state

Based on the 2004 U.S. presidential election and the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The party representations are based on the winners of the 2008 U.S. Senate elections.


Note: This article is from the "Institute for Southern Studies" and appears to have a liberal point of view
May 17, 2009
"The Blue Dog Democratic Coalition is one of the favorite punching bags of the progressive blogosphere. From DailyKos to OpenLeft, the Blue Dogs -- a group of 51 "moderate and conservative" House Democrats -- are routinely held up as a symbol of all that's wrong with the Democratic Party.

A piece yesterday in Firedoglake is typical of the anti-Blue Dog genre, in which they are savaged for being hypocritcal about government spending, opposed to hate crime laws and being the descendants of racist Dixiecrats (although the majority of Blue Dogs aren't in the South).

Defenders of the Blue Dogs respond by saying that these Democrats come from "hard districts," and they can't take progressive stands because they'll get voted out of office by their conservative constituents.

Put aside for the moment the unpleasant implication that Blue Dog votes are devoid of moral conviction and based purely on political calculation. Even on its own terms, is the idea that Blue Dogs come from uniquely conservative "hard districts" even true?

analysis by the Swing State Project this week might give the Blue Dogs some backup.

a widely-circulated post, blogger Crisitunity ranked members of the 110th Congress by their votes compared to their districts' Partisan Voting Index, a measure first developed by political analyst Charlie Cook in 1997. The idea is to find out if a Representative's voting record in 2008 was more or less "Democratic" than his district.

"Under-performing" Democrats are those that consistently vote more conservative than they could likely get away with given their district's Democratic leanings. "Over-performing" Democrats are those that somehow manage to vote more Democratic-friendly than their constituency.

So how do the Blue Dogs stack up? According to the Swing State Project's

* Only three of the top 20 "under-performing" Democrats in 2008 were in the Blue Dog Coalition: Reps. Scott (GA-13), Harman (CA-36) and Cooper (TN-5).

* By contrast,
six of the Blue Dogs were among the 20 most "over-performing" Democrats: Reps. Taylor (MS-4), Matheson (UT-2), Pomeroy (ND-AtLarge), Lampson (TX-22), Herseth (SD-AL) and Chandler (KY-6).

An analysis of
Cook's own PVI rankings for Congressional districts shuffles some of the names but arrives at the same conclusion: there are more Blue Dogs topping the list of Democratic "over-performers" than "under-performers."

What does it all mean?

One take is that, in key cases, the Blue Dogs are right about the makeup of their districts and the amount of political room they have to maneuver.

Furthermore, Blue Dogs are hardly unique -- in fact, most of the top Democrats who are voting more conservative than their constituents aren't Blue Dogs.

But then there are those representatives who cement the case that Blue Dogs can be out of touch with their districts. Exhibit A is Rep. David Scott whose conservative, business-friendly votes are a mismatch for his diverse and strongly Democratic district in the Atlanta suburbs.
Rep. Jane Harman is clearly another.

An important note: The PVI is a limited tool. It measures the political lean of a district by presidential votes -- useful shorthand, but one that ignores complicated questions like the way a presidential election played out in a particular district.

And it clearly doesn't capture the breadth of political views among constituents -- for example, what about
Southern populists who may vacillate on social issues but be progressive on economic ones?

The Blue Dogs also have to answer another question: Many Democrats, either due to conviction or opportunism, vote more conservative than their districts. But why have Blue Dogs taken the extra step of organizing/joining a political bloc that often defines itself by its opposition to the broader Democratic agenda -- as with the
stimulus bill and Obama's budget?

In other words, the question for Democrats isn't necessarily whether the Blue Dogs are too conservative, but why they've organized in a way that frequently undermines the Democratic brand."
robert chapman
May 17, 2009