Congressional Voting Scorecards

Introduction

This page provides links to Congressional voting scorecards issued by political and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum.

Congressional voting scorecards rate US Senators and Representatives on their voting records, measured in terms related to the political views of the group issuing the scorecard. Most scorecards issue a composite numerical score, usually from 0 (worst) to 100 (best); some also provide details on how individual members of Congress voted on each key vote.

Each group will chose a different set of votes to consider. Groups concerned with a narrower set of issues (say, the environment) will likely use a narrower set of votes than a group with a broad political agenda (like the liberal Americans for Democratic Action or the American Conservative Union). Note that because of the sheer number of Congressional votes, scorecards will reflect a subset of "key" votes. Users of scorecards should also note other differences between scorecards, for example in the treatment of missed votes.

Voter's guides attempt to educate voters on the issue positions of candidates in a particular race. This page focuses on Congressional score cards, which looks at past voting records, not voter's guide, which focus on the positions of candidates (of whom at most one can be an incumbent). Scorecards may be useful for evaluating incumbents in races, or nonincumbents who have previously served in Congress in another seat.

Sometimes scorecards make reference to numerical designnations of sessions of Congress rather than calendar years (e.g., "the 108th Congress" or "the 107th Congress, first session"). The Library of Congress has a good discussion of Congressional sessions. The following table lists recent Congresses:
Congress 1st Session 2nd Session
108th20032004
107th20012002
106th19992000
105th19971998

Major Groups

These groups are the same ones used in National Journal's Almanac of American Politics. The description of each group was chosen by TruthAndPolitics.org and is intended to be as neutral and unbiased as possible.
Group Description Current
scorecard
Previous
scorecards
Intro
page
AFSCME Labor 2003 (i) 1999--2002 (pdfs) intro
American Civil Liberties Union Civil liberties 2003 (i) 1997--2002 intro
American Conservative Union Conservative 2000--2003 (i) 1971--1999 intro
Americans for Democratic Action Liberal 2003 1985--2002,
1948--1984 (pdfs)
intro
Chamber of Commerce of the United States Business 2003 (i) 2001--2003 intro
Christian Coalition Conservative
Christian
2002 (h)
2001 (s)
na intro
Concord Coalition Federal fiscal
responsibility
2001--2002 1995--2000 intro
Information Technology Industry Council High-tech
business
2001--2002
2001--2002 (pdf)
na na
League of Conservation Voters Environment 2003 (i)
2003 (pdf)
1997--2002 (i)
1979--2002 (pdfs)
intro
National Tax-Limitation Committee Limiting taxes
and government
2001--2002 1999--2000 intro
National Taxpayers Union Limiting taxes
and government
1992--2002 (i) na intro

Notes:

  • Abbreviations:
    i: interactive feature; h: House; s: Senate; pdf: PDF file; pdfs: HTML page with links to PDF files; na: not available
  • Some of the links point to the same page, even though labeled differently

Project Vote Smart

Project Vote Smart has collected scores from many advocacy organizations, covered a wide range of issues. These can be found using the link "Interest Group Ratings" (on the left panel, under "Basic Categories"). You must first select a name (candidate or official) or your locality (ZIP+4 or state) and then navigate appropriately. Vote Smart also has Congressional voting records (under "Voting Records") that list key votes by year and issue category.

Other Groups

Again, the description of each group was chosen by TruthAndPolitics.org and is intended to be as neutral and unbiased as possible.
Group Description Current
scorecard
Previous
scorecards
Intro
page
AFL-CIO Labor 2003 (h,pdf)
2003(s, pdf)
1996--2003 intro
AARP Senior citizens 2003 (i) na na
National Retail Federation Business (retailers) 2003 (i) 1999--2002 (pdfs) intro
National Right to Life Committee Pro-life 2003--2004 (i) 1997--2004 (i) na
People for the American Way Liberal 2001--2003 (i) 2001--2002 (pdf) na
Planned Parenthood Action Fund Pro-choice 1995--2003 (i) 1995--2003 (i) na
Public Citizen Consumers 2003--2004 (i) 2001--2004 (i) na
Public Interest Research Groups Public interest 2003 1996--2002 intro
SEIU Labor 2002--2004 (i)
2003--2004
na intro
Taxpayers for Common Sense Federal fiscal responsibility 2001 1997--2000 intro

Notes:

  • Abbreviations:
    i: interactive feature; h: House; s: Senate; pdf: PDF file; pdfs: HTML page with links to PDF files; na: not available
  • Some of the links point to the same page, even though labeled differently