Newspaper article Roll Call

Vote Study Shows Obama Gets His Way in GOP-Controlled Senate

Newspaper article Roll Call

Vote Study Shows Obama Gets His Way in GOP-Controlled Senate

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Vote Study Shows Obama Gets His Way in GOP-Controlled Senate

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* By Shawn Zeller

* Roll Call Staff

* April 20, 2015, 3:57 p.m.

Republicans took the Senate in 2014 by stressing the data that CQ Roll Call's presidential support vote study revealed: Democrats in red states were sticking close to President Barack Obama. So here's a surprise: the new GOP majority in 2015 is voting Obama's way as often as they ever have.

Sure, it's early. But at this point, few expected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to be as accommodating as he has been. CQ Vote Watch, a new tool that offers daily reports on voting patterns, shows that Obama's victory percentage on Senate votes where he's taken a position is at 82 percent. That's a bit lower than recent years but higher than his number in 2012, when Democrats ruled the chamber.

Democrats are voting with the president at or near record levels, and Republicans are too. So far, they've voted with Obama 54 percent of the time, just a tick below last year's record 55 percent.

Legislating remains tough, but the deals on Medicare payments to doctors, Homeland Security funding, and bipartisan cooperation on cybersecurity and the No Child Left Behind reauthorization indicate that predictions of complete breakdown were premature.

"I think there's a tendency to think that periods of gridlock are permanent and that Armageddon is just around the corner," said Claremont McKenna College politics professor John J. Pitney Jr. "James Madison helped design a system that's pretty durable, and we're seeing his handiwork."

CQ Roll Call has studied congressional voting, specifically voting by representatives and senators in support of the president, as well as partisan voting, since 1953. Until now, the vote studies were annual projects. Starting today, CQ.com subscribers can see the studies take shape in real time, vote by vote, at CQ Vote Watch.

Readers will see some interesting developments. McConnell, of course, cut a deal with Obama on Medicare payments for doctors, a major bipartisan achievement earlier this month. …

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