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Loss of moderates like Snowe means DC stalemates more likely

The number of political moderates in the U.S. Senate is dwindling, and the departure of Senator Olympia Snowe, who is not seeking reelection, could further reduce their ranks. Senate moderates, those who do not follow a strict party line, have declined from 46 in 1977 to only six in 2009, according to one study. In the same period, another study, this one based on conservative-liberal ideology, found that those who did not strictly adhere to either view dropped from 39 to nine.  Moderate groups in the two studies mostly overlapped. In both of the studies, as well as in earlier years, Snowe and Susan Collins, Maine’s two Republican senators, rated as moderates. The method of determining partisanship was developed by Keith T. Poole of the University of Georgia and his associates.  If 50 percent of party members voted in the same way on a bill, their position was considered the party’s position.  Each member was rated by how often he or she voted with party positions.  In 2009, Snowe voted with the Republican Party position about 60 percent of the time. Continue Reading →

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