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How Much R-speak Did the Pressers of Each Senator Use This Year?

One of the things CivicFeed can do with its 23.3 million phrases scored for document frequency in D-sponsored or R-sponsored bills is determine bias of text streams.  And some of the interesting text streams are the press releases from each Senator’s office.  Not all Senators have press releases in easily processed form, but for those that do, we can generate a score for “how R-speak” it is (or, subtract from 1 to get how D-speak it is).  To the extent that this is a measure of partisanship in language, and it is certainly one good component, this shows in some ways how R-friendly the Senator’s state is.  For example, Jeff Flake may not be the most partisan member of the Senate, but Arizona is unquestionably far to the right.

More interestingly, if two Senators from different parties hail from the same state, the tendency to veer far from the center, in this scoring, is rare.  And if a Senator hails from a state with an electorate that is trending toward the other party, the language of the press releases often contains very strong bias to match that trend.  Claire McCaskill, for example, apparently feels the need to use even more R-speak than her fellow Missouri Senator, Roy Blunt, even though she is a Democrat and he is a Republican.  This happens as well to Joe Donnelly in Indiana, who is a D with more R-speak than R-IN Todd Young.  And it happens to Bill Nelson, D-FL, who has a higher R-speak score, at least in press releases this year, than R-FL Marco Rubio.  Of course, Rubio’s Presidential ambitions also contribute to a centrist moderation.

In many cases, the two Senators from the same state score very close to one another.  This is what we call highly calibrated understanding of the partisanship of the state.  Look at the adjacent scores of the Senators from Mississippi (0.693048 wicker R-MS, 0.690487, cochran R-MS), from New Jersey (0.366051 menendez D-NJ, 0.361253 booker D-NJ), and from Connecticut (0.354321 murphy D-CT, 0.337239 blumenthal D-CT).

The biggest outlier of course is John McCain, who scores a mere 0.40 R, despite hailing from strongly R-leaning AZ.  It places him in the orbit of Dick Durbin and Bernie Sanders, even less R than Pat Leahy D-VT, whose home state is very D-leaning.  We don’t have a score for Elizabeth Warren here, though Ed Markey D-MA has the 6th most D-speak.  Murray, Whitehouse, and Cardin win the contest from strongest D-speak, from WA, RI, and MD respectively.  Flake, Hatch, Inhofe have the highest R-scores here, from AZ, UT, and OK respectively.  In all of these cases, strongly partisan home states.

Who is most centrist?  Dianne Feinsten D-CA edges Richard Burr R-NC and Mike Crapo R-ID here.  No doubt this reflects Senator Feinstein’s difficulties with the far left.  It also shows her as a straight shooter, since her challengers would presumably be from the left.  It shows NC is a purple state trending blue.  And it may indicate that Mike Crapo deserves more investigation — perhaps there is a statistical anomaly here, or perhaps Crapo does not fear a primary challenge from his right.  Or perhaps, just perhaps, Senator Crapo could be headed toward the center.

 

 

0.876971 flake R-AZ
0.83239 hatch R-UT
0.810621 inhofe R-OK
0.809554 shelby R-AL
0.791208 isakson R-GA
0.788561 enzi R-WY
0.788073 thune R-SD
0.774519 cruz R-TX
0.768223 roberts R-KS
0.76093 heller R-NV
0.759546 barrasso R-WY
0.757273 rounds R-SD
0.75698 strange R-AL
0.750098 mccaskill D-MO
0.740442 toomey R-PA
0.739582 blunt R-MO
0.734183 scott R-SC
0.733541 boozman R-AR
0.727549 mcconnell R-KY
0.72124 gardner R-CO
0.719038 sasse R-NE
0.711836 perdue R-GA
0.706257 alexander R-TN
0.702331 cassidy R-LA
0.702302 sullivan R-AK
0.69904 paul R-KY
0.693048 wicker R-MS
0.690487 cochran R-MS
0.683996 donnelly D-IN
0.678706 risch R-ID
0.668201 capito R-WV
0.667768 kennedy R-LA
0.667459 murkowski R-AK
0.661758 ernst R-IA
0.658368 moran R-KS
0.658194 grassley R-IA
0.629451 lankford R-OK
0.627751 portman R-OH
0.618323 tillis R-NC
0.61555 billnelson D-FL
0.613721 ronjohnson R-WI
0.607976 young R-IN
0.605596 cornyn R-TX
0.598639 lgraham R-SC
0.598589 fischer R-NE
0.583817 daines R-MT
0.575801 king I-ME
0.56049 lee R-UT
0.55801 rubio R-FL
0.523696 collins R-ME
0.516396 hoeven R-ND
0.515597 kaine D-VA
0.506806 crapo R-ID
0.500672 feinstein D-CA
0.494657 burr R-NC
0.4815 brown D-OH
0.464713 heitkamp D-ND
0.460945 peters D-MI
0.46059 leahy D-VT
0.456909 warner D-VA
0.438796 tester D-MT
0.415053 reed D-RI
0.414133 manchin D-WV
0.403615 mccain R-AZ
0.395714 stabenow D-MI
0.394664 wyden D-OR
0.386706 durbin D-IL
0.385717 sanders I-VT
0.377972 coons D-DE
0.369714 schatz D-HI
0.368783 carper D-DE
0.368465 casey D-PA
0.366051 menendez D-NJ
0.361253 booker D-NJ
0.354321 murphy D-CT
0.337239 blumenthal D-CT
0.333487 klobuchar D-MN
0.329506 duckworth D-IL
0.316098 heinrich D-NM
0.312116 schumer D-NY
0.281504 vanhollen D-MD
0.274187 shaheen D-NH
0.266878 baldwin D-WI
0.262873 gillibrand D-NY
0.26188 hassan D-NH
0.257849 hirono D-HI
0.244314 merkley D-OR
0.242073 cortezmasto D-NV
0.228681 markey D-MA
0.227853 harris D-CA
0.223009 tomudall D-NM
0.187279 cardin D-MD
0.186079 whitehouse D-RI
0.184173 murray D-WA

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