Cage match: Patrick Painter vs Ralph Okerlund

Rep. Painter and Sen. Okerlund don’t disagree very often.

Correction (April 3, 2012): A database error caused my query to omit roughly half of the votes held each year. The omitted votes were roughly random, so the general patterns aren’t much different here than originally reported (when viewed as percents). That is, we still find that disagreements are rare. The main change you’ll notice from this correction is that the raw numbers are higher. I now report roughly twice as many disagreements in 2012 as I reported previously, although the rate of disagreements is roughly the same (since I now report twice as many agreements, too).

Utah Representative Patrick Painter is running against Senator Ralph Okerlund in Senate district 24. Rep. Painter has served 8 sessions, all in the House, while Sen. Okerlund has served only 4 sessions, all in the Senate. Let’s compare their legislative voting records for the years they have both served (2009-2012).

One caution: Since we’re comparing a representative to a senator, we can only compare their votes on the final version of bills that pass. I explained the reasons for this limitation the first time I compared a Senator’s record to a Representative’s. Long story short: This means we’re likely to underestimate the true amount of disagreement a little.

Rep. Painter and Sen. Okerlund don’t disagree very often. They generally agree upwards of 96-97% of the time. Here’s their percentage of disagreements, by year:

  • 2009: 2.5%
  • 2010: 2.5%
  • 2011: 3.2%
  • 2012: 3.4%

Most often, it’s Rep. Painter’s “no” to Sen. Okerlund’s “yes,” not the other way around. You can see that pattern in this table:

Okerlund “yes” Okerlund “no”
Painter “yes” 1,471 6
Painter “no” 38 2

Rep. Painter and Sen. Okerlund disagreed on only 13 bills that passed through the 2012 legislature. Of these, Rep. Painter voted “no” to Sen. Okerlund’s “yes” 12 times. Here’s the bills where that happened:

There was only one time in 2012 that Sen. Okerlund voted “no” to Rep. Painter’s “yes.” Here it is:

If you’d like to see a complete list of all their disagreements since 2009, send me an email and ask.

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About Adam Brown

Adam Brown is an assistant professor of political science at Brigham Young University and a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. You can learn more about him at his website.
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