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How Do VAPLAN Progressive Scores Correlate with State Senators’ Voting % in the 2020 Virginia General Assembly “Reconvene” Session?


See below for some interesting stats on voting records in the recent Virginia General Assembly’s 2020 “Reconvene”/”Veto Session,” courtesy of the @VACapitolSquare Twitter feed. I was curious how closely these stats – % support for governor’s amendments at the 2020 General Assembly “Reconvene” session – correlated with VAPLAN’s 2020 progressive scores. What I found was:

  • At least on the Democratic side, they didn’t correlate, particularly. For instance, Sen. Chap Petersen was the least progressive Democrat in the VAPLAN scorecard, but in the middle of the pack in terms of voting with Northam at the “Reconvene” session.
  • On the same note, Sen. John Bell was second-least-progressive in VAPLAN, but had the highest % voting with the governor at “Reconvene.” And Sen. Creigh Deeds was the 7th-least-progressive in VAPLAN, but voted second-most with Northam at “Reconvene.” Similar deal with Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, etc.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Sen. Ghazala Hashmi was the most progressive in the VAPLAN scorecard, and was #7 in terms of voting with the governor.
  • One of the biggest disconnects was with Sen. Jeremy McPike, who scored as the fifth-most-progressive Senator in VAPLAN, but had the lowest % voting-with-Northam record in the “Reconvene.” Which is…interesting, although I’m not sure why it’s the case, exactly.
  • So, again, it doesn’t seem like there’s any correlation between a Democrat’s VAPLAN score and how they voted at “Reconvene.” Of course, it’s all muddied by the fact that, on some important votes (e.g., delaying minimum wage and collective bargaining by several months), progressives *normally* wouldn’t have supported those, but there was serious concern that Northam might veto the bills entirely if his amendment were rejected, so the progressives voted to accept the amendments.
  • As for Republicans, there actually *does* seem to be a correlation, with the least-conservative in VAPLAN (Senators Emmett Hanger, Jill Vogel, Siobhan Dunnavant) also in the top three Republicans for voting percentage – Vogel at 64.9%, Dunnavant at 58.2%, Hanger at 57.1% – with Gov. Northam in “Reconvene.” On the flip side, most of the hardest-right Senate Republicans in VAPLAN – Mark Obenshain, Amanda Chase, Stephen Newman, Mark Peake, Bryce Reeves, Ryan McDougle, etc. – were also, as one would expect, among the *least* likely to vote with Gov. Northam at “Reconvene.”
  • And, of course, in general Senate Republicans voted significantly less with Gov. Northam than did Senate Democrats (who were all 90% or higher, except for Sen. McPike at 89.8%). Just as one would expect…

With that, here are the stats.


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