Lies, damn lies and statistics, NC style

"Percentages by themselves, Holian warns, can be a bit misleading..."

Fact Check: Does Hagan vote with Obama 95 percent of time?

WHERE THEY COME FROM: The percentages in question come from rankings published by Congressional Quarterly, a magazine popular among political junkies. The raw data from the rankings are behind a paywall but have been referenced frequently by political journalists.

This isn't a measure of all votes cast in the Senate. Rather, CQ starts keeps track of any bill on which the president has taken a public position. According to CQ, Obama has taken a position on 37 percent of all Senate votes if you count nominations, about 17 percent if you include only legislation.

In 2009 and 2010, the last years that Tillis served as a rank-and-file member of the General Assembly, voting stats compiled by legislative staff show he voted with the Democratic majority 87 percent of time. Taken out of context, it might seem that Tillis, a Republican, was somehow playing for the other team on a number of votes until you realize that 23 other Republicans voted even more closely with what was then a Democratic majority and that even the most quarrelsome Democrat that year, Rep. Pricey Harrison, D-Greensboro, voted with her party leaders 94 percent of the time.


It's a bogus statistic

(or lie or damn lie). What matters is whether or not Kay, or Tillis, or anyone else, voted the "right" way.

Although Kay isn't as progressive as I'd like, and there are significant (and minor) issues on which I disagree with her, more often than not, she ends up voting the right way, as I see it. If that happens to coincide with Obama's definition of the "right" way, that's just fine by me.

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014