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Another element of our forthcoming Senate race ratings involves assigning a liberal-conservative score to each candidate. Although there are resources like the National Journal — and a whole host of interest groups — that provide such ratings for sitting senators, there is nothing in so far as I am aware that provides them for prospective ones.

So I built my own from scratch. The process was to assign each candidate a number from 1 (conservative) to 5 (liberal) on six critical issues: Iraq/national security, health care, taxation, immigration, environment/energy, and values (e.g. abortion and gay rights). The scores were then averaged and translated to a 0 to 100 scale, with 0 indicating conservative and 100 liberal.

A whole series of sources were consulted, including the candidates’ voting records, the policy positions set forth on his or her website, and liberal-conservative ratings provided by third parties. So, these ratings were not done without thought. But I’m sure there are a few that can be improved. Which of these strike you as wrong?


Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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