Thursday, March 08, 2018

Conservative Performance Index: OK House

Following up on my 2017 Republican District Ratings from a while back, this post compares each legislator's conservative score to their district rating, to add up their Conservative Performance Index.

The conservative rating ('CR' in the spreadsheet) I use is an average of the most recent American Conservative Union scores for Oklahoma legislators, the Oklahoma Constitution's Conservative Index, and for the House, the recent Platform Index for the two special sessions over the past few months. Using multiple sources broadens the perspective and scoring system for what I feel is a more accurate picture.

Positive CPI scores indicate that the member's conservative voting outperforms their district's Republican rating (RDR). Negative scores show that the member is more liberal than the district.

One purpose of this system is to illustrate how conservative or liberal a legislator is for their district. As filing for office is coming up next month, this edition of the Conservative Performance Index will be the final version before elections are decided for the upcoming legislative term.

In this post, we'll look at the CPI for State House members. We'll examine the State Senate in the next CPI post.

This year's CPI is somewhat lower than the 2016 CPI. Top scoring legislators this time are freshman Rick West (R-HD3) at +30.9, followed by George Faught (R-HD14) at +30.3, and Jason Murphey (R-HD31) at +30.1. Rounding out the top five are John Bennett (HD2) at +27.8, and Travis Dunlap at +25.2.

For comparison, the top seven in 2016 were all above these scores (Faught is the only common member; the rest dropped further down the list or termed out). Most districts got more Republican, while conservative averages sagged some overall; the combination reduced most CPI scores. For comparison, I've added a column to show where each member ranked in the 2016 CPI.

The top Democrats were Shane Stone (D-HD89) at +21.9, Regina Goodwin (D-HD73) at +20.9, Jason Lowe (D-HD97) at +20.3, George Young (D-HD99) at +10.8, and Eric Proctor (D-HD77) at +10.5. Four of these hold seats with very low Republican District Ratings (ranging from 10.3 to 31.7, averaging 20.4), with the exception of Proctor, whose district is a 43.5 (slightly more Republican than the most-Democratic GOP-held seats).

Cindy Munson is the lowest scoring Democrat, as well as the lowest scoring non-freshman member, at -29.4. The only member to score lower was Zack Taylor (R-HD28) at -32.4; Taylor won a special election and thus is only rated on his special session votes. 4 Democrats and 12 Republicans have CPI ratings of -20 or worse.

The lowest non-freshmen Republicans are Casey Murdock (R-HD61) at -25.0, Leslie Osborn (R-HD47) at -22.3, Mike Sanders (R-HD59) at -17.8, Chris Kannady (R-HD91) at -17.5, and John Pfeiffer (R-HD38) at -16.5.

An astounding 46 Republicans (63%) have negative CPI scores (24 of which of are freshmen), while only 27 (27%) have positive CPI scores. 21 Democrats are negative, and 7 have a positive CPI. Last year, six Republicans and one Democrat had a CPI of +30 or higher; this year, only three Republicans are at that level. 7 Republicans and three Democrats are between +20 and +30, compared to 18 Republicans last year.

Of the 27 freshmen Republicans, 24 have negative CPI scores, while 3 have positive CPI scores. That makes the freshmen GOP average -12.2. This freshman class is an abysmal failure for conservatism and the Republican Party.

The average Republican score is -2.7 (last year was  +14.8), and the average Democrat score is -5.5 (last year was -4.4). If freshmen Republicans were taken out of the equation, the GOP average would have been +2.9.

Next time, we'll examine the 2017 Conservative Performance Index for the State Senate.


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