What is the Rice University Liberal-Conservative Ranking method?
Mark P. Jones, Political Science Fellow at Rice University, biennially uses roll-call votes cast by members of the Texas Legislature to rank their places on a Liberal-Conservative scale. His rankings are released in June following the end of the Texas Legislature's regular session the last week in May.
Rice U factually captures the aggregate leftward shift of our legislators over time. It also correctly shows that the Senate, as a group, is more conservative than the House.
With Rice U, anything above zero leans conservative; anything below zero leans liberal. We believe a closer look into the Texas Legislature is warranted!
Why do we mention the Rice U TXLege rankings here?
We use it to demonstrate the need for a deeper picture for those who care to look - those who actually believe in the Liberty Principle: "government can only derive its just powers from the consent of the governed."
The Rice University analysis is seen as a fairly objective measure and is sometimes used by incumbents to help bolster their credentials. For example, a female State Representative is using it to boast that she is the most conservative freshman in the Texas House. But if the entire House has shifted Left over time, what does that really mean?
Rice U's ranking gets you into the ballpark, but that's not the whole story - not the complete picture.
Digging deeper, we find legislators who are better than the Rice U ranking portrays, and in other cases, we find legislators worse than the Rice U shows.
For those Republicans ranked by Rice U to the left of the median ideological line, if you also click on our "Show Vote Differences with Other Reps," you'll notice that many of them disagree with Republicans as often or more often than they disagree with Democrats. That's important.
The Rice U ranking is not 100% accurate because it uses a sample of their votes, and not every vote like we do.
Rice U doesn't look at the fiscal notes. We do.
Rice U doesn't look at bill amendments or committee activity. We do.
Rice U's ranking is a snapshot of some activity, but it's also not the "cherry-picking" of votes to which so many incumbents object. Rice U's ranking is a respected tool; thus, we include it, but we also strive to give you the tools to look deeper.
Rice U's Lib-Con ranking is a useful starting tool. Our mission is to deliver a tool that helps Texans take a deeper look into HOW they are being represented.
We believe it is high time that grassroots Texans had a way to "fact check" incumbents, their political consultants, legacy media, and the grifters (on the political Left and Right) who like to keep problems and issues alive to enrich themselves.
Our tool delivers important "ammo" in your quest to save Texas. It's up to you to use it!