Today, the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research releases its biennial report Rankings of Effectiveness, Attendance, and Roll Call Voting Participation for the North Carolina General Assembly.
“The rankings of attendance and voting participation tell citizens how often their legislator was there to represent them. The effectiveness rankings tell citizens how effective their legislator was when he or she was there.”
This year’s rankings mark the 20th time the Center has undertaken this comprehensive survey. The first edition evaluated the performance of the 1977-78 General Assembly. The Center’s effectiveness rankings are based on surveys completed by the legislators themselves, by registered lobbyists who are based in North Carolina and who regularly work in the General Assembly, and by capital news reporters. These three groups are asked to rate each legislator’s effectiveness on the basis of participation in committee work, skill at guiding bills through committees and in floor debates, and general knowledge or expertise in specific fields. The survey respondents also are asked to consider the respect that legislators command from their peers, as well as his or her ethics, the political power they hold (by virtue of office, longevity, or personal skills), their ability to sway the opinions of fellow legislators, and their aptitude for the overall legislative process.
This marks the eighth time the Center has tabulated rankings of attendance and roll call voting participation, using official records from the N.C. General Assembly.
Center director Nancy Richmond Rose says that the N.C. Center compiles the three sets of rankings released today to give citizens different ways to evaluate the performance of their legislators. “The rankings of attendance and voting participation tell citizens how often their legislator was there to represent them,” she says. “The effectiveness rankings tell citizens how effective their legislator was when he or she was there.”
The response rate to the survey continues to be very high. Seventy-five of the 120 House members (63 percent) responded to the Center’s survey, as did 27 of the 50 Senators (54 percent), 160 of the 382 lobbyists and lead legislative liaisons based in North Carolina (42 percent), and 7 of 32 capital news correspondents (22 percent) – all well above accepted standards of statistical validity. The overall response rate was 46 percent, an increase from 40% in 2014, 2012, and 2010.
The 2016 rankings are included in the Center’s Citizen’s Guide to the Legislature app. The Guide contains profiles and photos of each of the 170 members of the General Assembly; business and home addresses; email, telephone and fax numbers; seat number; counties in their districts; the number of terms they have served in the legislature; links to legislators’ social media accounts; and their educational and occupational backgrounds. It also includes highlights and trends for legislators’ demographics and occupations, past effectiveness rankings, and more. The Citizen’s Guide app is available for IOS and Android devices, thanks to a sponsorship by EMC2.