Cage match: Fred Cox and Janice Fisher

On close votes, Fred Cox and Janice Fisher disagree 57% of the time.

Update: I produced a new “cage match” post in July 2012 comparing Cox and Fisher. I encourage you to read that one, as this one is now outdated.

As a result of recent redistricting, Representatives Fred Cox (R) and Janice Fisher (D) now find themselves in the same Utah House district and are likely to run against each other in November 2012. Let’s compare their legislative voting records.

I’ve written a few similar posts in recent weeks, such as my comparisons of Carl Wimmer and Stephen Sandstrom and of Ben McAdams and Ross Romero. Let’s give this series a name. From here out, I’ll put “cage match” in the title. If you’d like to suggest other legislators to compare, send me a note.

Rep. Janice Fisher has served several years now, but Rep. Fred Cox is a relative newcomer. The 2011 legislative session was his first. As such, this comparison draws on only 611 votes in which both Cox and Fisher participated.

The comparison

Cox and Fisher disagreed on 111 of 611 votes (that’s 18.2%). Given that these two belong to different parties, that may seem low. (It also puts into context my earlier findings that Republicans Wimmer and Sandstrom disagree only 10% of the time, and Democrats Romero and McAdams disagree only 4.5% of the time.)

Bear in mind, however, that most votes in the Utah legislature are decided by overwhelming majorities. It’s more informative to focus on the “close” votes. By “close,” I mean that fewer than 55 of 75 Representatives voted together on the winning side. Only 105 of the 611 total votes were close by this standard.

On close votes, Fred Cox and Janice Fisher disagree 57% of the time. (That’s 60 of the 105 close votes.) That should leave plenty for them to talk about during the election. Cox has voted “no” to Fisher’s “yes” 34 times; Fisher has voted “no” to Cox’s “yes” 77 times.

Bear in mind that I’m counting votes, not bills. If the House votes on different versions of the same bill more than once, then that counts as separate votes for purposes of this analysis. For example, Cox voted against HB 116 twice, and Fisher voted for it twice (note a correction to that sentence). Since bills often change between votes, I count each vote separately.

Examples of disagreements

I’ll list a few examples. First, I’ll list the four times where Cox or Fisher was the lone dissenting vote:

  • HB454, “State Hospital Revisions” (Cox was the only “no”)
  • HB22, “Fire Prevention and Fireworks Act Amendments” (Fisher was the only “no”)
  • SB237, “Pollution Control Facility Amendments” (Cox was the only “no”)
  • SB16S1, “State Tax Commission Tax, Fee, or Charge Administration and Collection Amendments” (Cox was the only “no”)

Now, I’ll list the five most divisive votes where Cox and Fisher disagreed. Each of these was decided by a margin of 6 or fewer votes in the 75-member chamber.

  • HB339, “Charter School Enrollment Amendments” (failed in a 37-37 vote; Cox “yes,” Fisher “no”)
  • HB491S2, “Alimony Modifications” (failed in a 35-38 vote; Cox “yes,” Fisher “no”)
  • HB89S1, “Protection of Children Riding in Motor Vehicles” (passed 39-35; Cox “no,” Fisher “yes”)
  • SB45, “Wireless Telephone Use Restriction for Minors in Vehicles” (failed 32-38; Cox “no,” Fisher “yes”)
  • HB155, “Cycling Laws” (passed 39-33; Cox “no,” Fisher “yes”)

Anybody wanting the complete list of disagreements should contact me.

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About Adam Brown

Adam Brown is an associate 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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7 Responses to Cage match: Fred Cox and Janice Fisher

  1. Fred says:

    I think you are fixing it, but this one was backwards. The correct sentence should be

    “For example, Cox voted against HB 116 twice, and Fisher voted for it twice. Since bills often change between votes, I count each vote separately.”

  2. Fred says:

    Ideology scores for the Utah House of Representatives, 2011
    23 vs 70

  3. Fred says:

    Any update expected on this race based on the 2012 votes?
    Do you know when you might expect an update on the Ideology scores?

    • Adam Brown says:

      I just posted all the Representative vs Senator races earlier today. I’ll look at Rep vs Rep races later on, including a second look at this one.

      Ideology scores may take a little longer.

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