The chart above summarizes the environmental votes of members of the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress. Specifically, the x-axis is the score on environmental votes according to the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). The red curve then shows the percentage (on the y-axis) of all Republican representatives who reached that score (on the x-axis) or less. The blue curve shows the percentage of all Democratic representatives who had at least that score.
For the purposes of this post, I take the LCV score as a reasonable proxy for overall commitment to the environment by legislators - readers are invited to critique it in comments. The conclusions from the data are perhaps unsurprising:
- Democrats tend to be pro-environment and Republicans tend to be anti-environment.
- The House of Representatives is extremely polarized with the median Democrat having around a 90% LCV score, while the median Republican has around a 10% score.
- There is a small cross-over, with a small minority of Republicans having half-decent scores (up to Christopher Smith of New Jersey with a 60% score). Likewise there are a minority of Democrats with poor scores (down to Jane Harman of California with an 11% score).
- The Republicans are more tightly clustered than the Democrats. The Republican average is 11% with a standard deviation of 9% while the Democrat average is 87% (a little further from the extreme end) with a standard deviation of 17% (almost twice as large as the Republican spread).