Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 23, 2014

Chart of the Day

sotu ideology2 Chart of the Day

John Sides posts a graph of the relative liberalism or conservatism of every State of the Union address since 1986.

Also, Sides has an interesting backgrounder on creating the chart.

  • jdwilson

    Interesting, before 9/11 the graph would not have had the far right side.

    It would be interesting to analyze the US House somehow using the same method and see if Gingrich’s “revolution” or 9/11 marked the sharp right turn of Republican speech, or if it has been gradual.

    • A.T.P.

      I don’t know about speech, but there’s a vast body of research tracking the sharp right turn of House Republican votes.

  • zb77

    Graph should have 0.0 in the middle. Otherwise it seems like Democratic Presidents are equally ideologically extreme as Bush, which is demonstrably not the case.

    • GatorLegal1

      Great catch. On a similar note, take a look at most printed paper maps of the world. They typically have the equator about 2/3 the way down from the top of the map, a projection which cartographically exaggerates the size of land masses in the northern hemisphere, making them appear much larger in area than an in-fact comparably-sized area in the southern hemisphere. Greenland is much smaller than South America, but appears the same size (or even larger than it!) on these maps.

  • BBWeekly

    Does this metric include the “war on terror” as a conservative position? Otherwise I don’t see much rationale for showing the Bush speeches so far to the right. He rarely discussed divisive social issues and he certainly was not a fiscal conservative on spending.

  • hawkny1

    Does your scale of 1 to 10 go into negative territory?

  • GatorLegal1

    Not surprising at all: Democratic presidents make more liberal speeches, Republican presidents make more conservative ones.

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