Wednesday, April 29, 2009
By Steven L. Taylor

Nolan McCarthy ponders the The Specter of a Filibuster-proof Majority and notes:

Keith, Howard, and I once published a paper that among other things estimated how much party switchers shifted on the liberal-conservative continuum. We found that on average party switchers moved 28 percentile ranks on a liberalism scale. Thus, a Democrat at the 40th percentile on liberalism would move to the 68th percentile.In the 110th Congress, Specter was the 55th most liberal member of the Senate.With the addition of new Democratic senators, he is probably the 62nd most liberal. Consequently, if he shifts the average amount, he’ll be the 34th most liberal. Such a move would put him solidly within the Democratic fold near Herb Kohl and Diane Feinstein.He would probably rank more liberal than his fellow Pennsylvania Democrat Bob Casey (even on issues other than abortion).

Along similar line, Nate Silver looks at the DW-NOMINATE scores for recent party switchers and notes:

What does this mean for Specter? If we take his rating of +.091 from the 110th Congress and subtract .394 points from it, we come up with a -.303. That would make him similar to Tim Johnson (-.282), Blanche Lincoln (-.297), Kent Conrad (.315) or Joe Liberman (-.333). Bob Casey Jr,, by contrast, Specter’s colleague from Pennsylvania, rates as a -.401, whereas the average Democratic senator in the 110th Congress was a -.441.

Nate’s work is more back-of-an-envelope analysis that is McCarthy, et al’s. Still, interesting stuff.

h/t on the McCarthy post Chris Lawrence‘s shared items on Google Reader.

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