The LEO Test: Santorum and Hillary

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The new blog, The LEO Test (LEO stands for Liberty, Equality, Order) takes a look at the differences between two seemingly polar opposites.

Regarding Hillary:

When I first considered analyzing Sen. Clinton, I was under the impression that her overall position was generally egalitarian, since this is how she is most often portrayed by allies and opponents alike. When I submitted her Issues pages and her 109th Congress sponsorship record to the LEO test, however, a much more perplexing picture emerged.

Perhaps it is safe to say that Sen. Clinton [is] nothing if not strident in her expressed opinions. Where those opinions fall in ideological space, however, is another matter entirely. Like most political actors, a variety of positions will be indicated, but the aggregate or the adjusted proportion of those preferences should yield a clearer picture of the Senator’s overall ideological signature.

A disparity appears between Sen. Clinton’s stated positions on the Issues pages of her Senate webpage and her sponsorship record for the 109th Congress. The exact nature of this disparity I am still exploring, but it is nevertheless observable.

Regarding Santorum:

I first analyzed Rick Santorum about a year ago, and had been sitting on the results until such time as I could clarify the method and firmly establish a venue for these findings. At the time I limited the analysis to an overview of Santorum’s webpage and the Congress which had been meeting at the time, the 108th, as well as the 107th Congress. Consequently the results on hand only offer a small snapshot of Santorum’s overall position, and will need to be updated. Another Congress has convened, and a new sponsorship record is available. Also, a sample of sponsorship records from previous Congresses of which Santorum was a member (Santorum’s freshman Congress was the 104th) need to be collected and analyzed in a similar manner as John Kerry’s record had been, so that a general trend may be identified.

Furthermore, Sen. Santorum’s issue pages should be itemized and analyzed separately, in a similar manner to the President’s issues pages.

All this may take a couple of days to process. As it stands, the first dataset includes a context-sensitive handcount of ideological indicators for the sample. While a context-sensitive analysis may in some circumstances provide an accurate measure, it is far more cumbersome and time-consuming than the somewhat automated approach employed more recently.

Take a look at the conclusions over at Jonathon York’s fantastic blog. The results may just surprise you.

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