How Partisanship Impacted the 115th Congress

December 14, 2017

Earlier this year, the Cook Political Report released their 2017 Partisan Voting Index (PVI) Ratings, measuring the partisan strength of all 435 congressional districts and 50 states in the US. As the first session of the 115th Congress comes to a close, we took a look at what the partisan strength of a district or state can reveal about how often a member of Congress worked across the aisle in 2017. You can check out some of our findings below and download the full report here!

House members in competitive districts vote against their own party at a higher rate than members in more partisan districts.

House members who represent districts with PVI ratings of D+5 or greater vote against their party an average of 3.9% of the time. On the opposite end, members who represent districts with a PVI of R+5 or greater vote against their party an average of 4.6% of the time. And members in highly competitive districts, ranging from D+5 to R+5, vote against their party an average of 7.5% of the time.

House members in competitive districts vote against their own party at a higher rate than members in more partisan districts.

The average House Democrat cosponsors legislation across the aisle twice as much as the average House Republican.

As the minority party in the chamber, House Democrats cosponsor legislation across the aisle 29% of the time compared to House Republicans 12.3% of the time.

The average House Democrat cosponsors legislation across the aisle twice as much as the average House Republican.

Six House Democrats cosponsor more Republican legislation than Democratic legislation. Four are in competitive districts and two are in Republican districts.

More than 50% of the legislation Rep. Peterson (D-MN-7), Rep. Cuellar (D-TX-28), Rep. Sinema (D-AZ-9), Rep. Kind (D-WI-3), Rep. Gottheimer (D-NJ-5), and Rep. Costa (D-CA-16) have cosponsored this year is led by a Republican. Rep. Peterson leads the entire chamber in rate of cross-party cosponsorships with 72%.

Six House Democrats cosponsor more Republican legislation than Democratic legislation. Four are in competitive districts and two are in Republican districts.

Senators in strong Democratic states vote against their own party more than Senators in competitive and strong Republican states.

Senators in strong Democratic states vote against their own party more than Senators in competitive and strong Republican states.

The top five Senators who vote against their own party the most are all Democrats and represent states that span more than 30 points in the PVI rating.

Senator Manchin (D-WV) votes against his own party more than any other member in the Senate. Manchin is joined by fellow Democrats in Republican states, Senator Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Heitkamp (D-ND), as well as progressive colleagues Senator Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Gillibrand (D-NY).

The top five Senators who vote against their own party the most are all Democrats and represent states that span more than 30 points in the PVI rating.

Download the full report here!

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