National Journal: Allyson Schwartz Is the Most Conservative PA House Democrat

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National Journal released their new ideological scores today and found that Allyson Schwartz is the most conservative member of the PA House Democrats. Here they are in order, from most liberal to most conservative:

PA-2: Chaka Fattah
Liberal: 90.3; Conservative: 9.7

PA-17: Matt Cartwright
Liberal: 84.5; Conservative: 15.5

PA-14: Mike Doyle
Liberal: 83.7; Conservative 16.3

PA-1: Robert Brady
Liberal: 81.7; Conservative: 18.3

PA-13: Allyson Schwartz
Liberal: 69.0; Conservative 31.0

If you look at the methodology they use, you’ll see the score tells us more about partisanship than ideology. We’re essentially seeing how often members vote with the party, which isn’t really the same thing as their ideological outlook on the issues.

I’m dying to write a full Primary Colors blog post about this, but since our full site doesn’t drop until March 10th, I’ll just tease that the Primary Colors scores say it goes Fattah, Cartwright, Brady, Doyle, Schwartz.

If you remember how this works we’re comparing member ideology to the partisan lean of the district to see who’s voting too conservative relative to the district.

So the algorithm thinks that Matt Cartwright is the most valuable Democrat because he represents a D+4 district, but votes with progressives about 91.2% of the time – a few tenths of a percentage point less progressive than the most progressive member, Chaka Fattah.

Cartwright is more progressive than Allyson Schwartz (91.2 to 83.1), even though he represents a swingier D+4 and she represents a totally safe D+13 district. Schwartz isn’t really out of line with what’s expected of her – the algorithm expects Schwartz to vote with progressives (a bit different than Democrats!) about 85.7% of the time, but she actually is voting with us 83.1% of the time. It doesn’t recommend a primary, but it does think Congresswoman Schwartz should be more progressive.

The other point to make about this is that no Republicans hold any district more liberal than a D+5, so once the district passes that point, members are pretty much free to vote however they want.

Why doesn’t Schwartz vote as progressive as Cartwright? Why’s she getting 86% scores from the League of Conservation Voters while Cartwright, in a tougher district, is getting 96%? It’s a legitimate question, and people should ask her.

This entry was posted in Governor, US House.

6 Responses to National Journal: Allyson Schwartz Is the Most Conservative PA House Democrat

  1. Pingback: 2/13 Morning Buzz | PoliticsPA

  2. Jo Ann P. Kelton says:

    Allyson has to smartly position herself for her current race. She needs to appeal to the whole state now, not just her district. I’m betting that she will.

    • Jon Geeting says:

      Appeal to the whole state with telecom mergers and letting your boss demand your Facebook password. Yeah those are the conservative positions Real Pennsylvania loves.

  3. tim brown says:

    That groups supposedly to the left of her is not a high bar to get over after gerrymandering of districts. She is Corbetts best chance to keep his job. No reflection on her personally but Congress does not get high votes for their can do performance. The other people running have some Harrisburg hands on experience and appeal much more to the rest of the state. It is going to be who can hit it down the middle that gets elected. Then be able to work with an R house and an R senate. good group of candidates but message and differentiation is key.

  4. progressive2 says:

    Schwartz (along with Hanger and McGinty) is strong on many progressive positions in education, such as expanding pre-school, holding cyber schools accountable, and working with rather than against teachers and other professionals.