What kind of Republican is Mia Love? She’s not too far off from Chaffetz, Stewart, and Bishop.
Last week, I used Congressional voting data to assess whether Jim Matheson is a moderate or liberal Democrat. The unsurprising conclusion: He’s to the right of almost every other Democrat in the US House. It would be hard to call him a liberal based on his overall voting record. Whether that makes him a moderate, a conservative, a pollchaser, or a pragmatist is in the eye of the beholder.
Now let’s look at Mia Love. She doesn’t have a Congressional voting record to evaluate, but Boris Shor saves the day here. He’s a political scientist at the University of Chicago who has found a way to measure the ideology of Congressional challengers on the same scale that we use to measure the ideology of incumbents. Today, he released ideology scores for 722 of the 2012 candidates for US House, including both incumbents and challengers. (He also posted an explanation of how scores are calculated and some interesting aggregate analysis of the scores.)
Shor’s data places Mia Love somewhat right-of-center when compared to other Republican candidates for the US House this cycle. When compared to other Republicans running for the House, only 30% are more conservative than she is, with the other 70% somewhat less conservative. (Shor’s data identifies Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart as somewhat to Love’s left, with Rob Bishop somewhat to her right; notice that Bishop’s and Chaffetz’s positions were swapped in my previous post, when I used ideology scores calculated by different researchers, illustrating the difficulty of pinning down exact ideology scores.)
So what kind of Republican is Mia Love? She’s not too far off from Chaffetz, Stewart, and Bishop. They all appear to have ideologies somewhat more conservative than is typical for a Republican House candidate this year, but not so far right of average that they would appear extreme within their own party. If Republicans sweep Utah’s US House races this year, it’s likely that the four of them will get along well in Congress.