Thursday, April 18, 2013

McCrory ranked as nation's 9th most conservative governor

Gov. Pat McCrory, widely regarded as a centrist during his 14 years as Charlotte's mayor, is the ninth most conservative governor in the country, an analysis by the New York Times' Nate Silver finds.

Silver -- a statistician of some renown -- uses a formula to give each of the nation's 30 Republican governors a score. The score is based on the governor's public statements, the identity of his donors and, for those who have served in Congress, his congressional voting record.

McCrory scores among the least conservative on donors' identity. But Silver gives him the most conservative score of the 30 for public statements. The result: McCrory rates as more conservative than Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona and many others.

Silver finds that of the 10 most conservative governors, McCrory is the second most popular (with a net approval rating of +14), behind only Virginia's Bob McDonnell. That makes McCrory a bit of an anomaly: Generally, the Republican governors whom Silver lists as more moderate have higher approval ratings than those he ranks more conservative.

Silver uses advanced statistics to show what is common sense: A governor can't be too far out of step with his state's residents and remain popular. There are exceptions -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ranks third among conservative governors yet is generally popular in his liberal-leaning state. But in a state as evenly divided as North Carolina, it will be interesting to see if McCrory attempts to moderate his conservatism, and what happens to his popularity if he does or doesn't.

Silver doesn't specify which of McCrory's comments earned him such a conservative rating. But that part of his analysis is based on the public statements gathered by a website called That site lists McCrory's stances on various issues, and they don't strike us as unusually conservative. It also ranks McCrory's social and economic views, and labels him a "moderate libertarian conservative."

There's also nothing in Silver's rankings based on what a governor actually does (if they haven't served in Congress), as opposed to what he says or where he gets his money. So we take the whole thing with a shaker of salt. But McCrory's approach in a divided state will be interesting to watch. After all, his reelection campaign starts in less than three years!

Taylor Batten


Archiguy said...

Not surprising that McCrory is taking this path. His ambition is greater than being a mere governor. He's looking at Senator, then possibly a run for President. He's got to establish his conservative bona-fides to build the national support and contributor base such runs require.

Unfortunately, trying to reign in the adolescent fantasies and disastrous policy decisions of the newly empowered GOP legislature in Raleigh is not a high priority for someone with such lofty ambitions.

The state will suffer greatly for his nonchalance, especially our most vulnerable citizens who had a brief hope for the federal Medicaid expansion that now will never come, but those folks are not a big concern for "Mayor Pat". He's got bigger fish to fry.

John said...

Of course before you can begin to take this seriously, Silver needs to disclose his own political position. The value of "Statistical analysis" is dependent on the reliability and objectivity of the analyst and I find unbiased political observers to rank with Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny on the reality scale!

Mark Caplan said...

Gov. McCrory's formal education culminated in a degree in teaching from Catawba College in Salisbury, so give the guy a break. OK? He's doing the best he can.