To calculate each legislator’s score, we have mined data from APIs provided by The Sunlight Foundation, GovTrack, and the Washington Post.
Each legislator receives points for:
- Leadership position (Speaker, Minority Leader, etc.)
- Committee leaderships (Chairman, Ranking Member)
- Total committee seats
- Terms served
- Total number of bills sponsored
- Sponsored bills that became law
- Total votes (a measure of participation in the process)
- Total yea votes for bills that passed
- Total nay votes for bills that failed
- Total number of mentions in the Washington Post
- Total number of visits to the White House
and each legislator loses points for:
- Total nay votes for bills that passed
- Total yea votes for bills that failed
Known factors that could skew the results are taken into account (for example, the Speaker of the House, by tradition, rarely votes on anything, so he is not penalized for his low vote total).
We weight these various stats and have come up with a composite score for each legislator on a scale of 1-100.
As we continue to develop this site, we'll work on tweaking the weights for the data we already have and incorporating additional data to better compare legislative performance.
Next up, we're planning to add:
Campaign Finance Data
Swing Vote Status
Committee Assignment Ranking
We're open to suggestions for other sources of data or ways of quantifying legislative clout and legislative effectiveness. If you have ideas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org