Is Fred Upton More Conservative?

One of the arguments used by conservative supporters of Congressman Fred Upton is that Upton is more conservative now than he used to be.  Is there any merit to this argument?

To analyze this claim, we consider ratings issued by conservative groups over the years.  This will make it easy to spot any trend.

Of course, the usual caveats apply.  These ratings are calculated based on a selection of votes.  The votes rated each year are different, but these groups use fairly consistent standards that allow comparison over time.

First up is American Conservative Union (ACU), which has been rating Congress since the 1970s.  Their ratings for Upton’s entire tenure are graphed below.

A linear regression line is graphed along with the data.  As you can see, the line is virtually flat, indicating no substantial change.  There is actually a very slight decrease over time.

Upton’s two best ratings occurred in 2002 and 2010, both of which were years when Upton received serious primary challenges from the right.

Many conservatives consider ACU’s ratings too generous.  More recently, several other organizations have begun their own ratings of Congress.  FreedomWorks is a libertarian-leaning organization that has rated Congress since 2005.

Once again, the regression line is essentially flat.  Upton’s best year is also 2010.

Club for Growth is a free market organization that has also rated Congress since 2005.

Here we do see an upward trend, but Upton 2014 rating ties for his worst, so there isn’t much reason to expect the trend to continue.

Some supporters of Upton will cite his endorsements by Right to Life in 2012 and 2014, after not having been endorsed in any previous years, as evidence of improvement.  But this blog has documented Upton’s long pro-abortion voting record in the past.  He has not publicly renounced these votes, which leads to the suspicion that Right to Life’s endorsement was based on political considerations.

In fairness, there is one major issue on which Upton’s record actually has gotten better.  Upton once had a very weak record on gun rights, with a 42% rating from the NRA in 2000.  Since then, his ratings have improved.  Upton usually votes the party line, but is not a leader on the issue.

Overall, though, Upton has not gotten any more conservative over the years.  The claim to the contrary is false.

You Betcha! (11)Nuh Uh.(1)

  7 comments for “Is Fred Upton More Conservative?

  1. Corinthian Scales
    May 27, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    He laughs at you in CD-6.

    "People in my district, they don't care if you're an R or a D. They want you to get the job done," said Upton, representing southwestern Michigan.

    Straight from the Progressive horse's ass himself.

    You Betcha! (13)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Mark
      May 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

      I heard several people in Stupeak's district who called themselves Republicans or worse yet, conservative, proclaim that, "I always vote for him, he seems like he knows what he's doin'." I suspect similar comments are made in Fupton's district about him.

      She's Hardly L'Il Debbie Stabemall likes him according to an article in today's Detroit News on line. Its a bipartisan thing.

      You Betcha! (8)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. 10x25MM
    May 28, 2015 at 10:28 am

    The three linear regressions' coefficients of determination (r squared) indicate that Congressman Upton's voting behavior exhibits no discernible trend over time, as measured by any of the three different organizations' rating scales. The coefficients of determination should be above 0.20 to find any progression of Congressman Upton's voting behavior over time. This could indicate that the rating scales are immethodical, but the general agreement each year between the FreedomWorks and Club for Growth ratings indicate that this is not so.

    You are looking at what statisticians call a 'random walk'. Draw your own political conclusions from this one valid statistical conclusion.

    You Betcha! (5)Nuh Uh.(0)
  3. reindeer farmers rock
    May 28, 2015 at 10:36 am

    That progressive bankster dolt in Michigan CD-11, Trott, has turned out to be a dud even worse than the reindeer farmer, I notice. All of Michigan's new congresscritters are pretty much progressive losers: Bishop, the guy in Camp's old district, Dingell's wife, the Southfield gal... they're all a waste of oxygen, for the most part .

    Candice Miller really needs to be replaced by a conservative. And one of these new hires needs to be primaried. I'd guess that the Left will go after Trott hard, and they'll likely be able to unseat the dolt, if things stay the way they are with him .

    You Betcha! (4)Nuh Uh.(4)
  4. Bruce Hall
    May 28, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Not sure what Fred Upton is, but as Chairman of the Energy Committee he is not interested in the security of our national electrical grid. Any attempt to get the grid upgraded to resist solar storms or EMP (you know, the pulses that fry our grid when North Korean or Iranian nuts decide it's time to push the U.S. 150 years into the past), get stonewalled in his committee.

    Is that conservative for not wanting to have a government mandate that would cost us $2 a month per account, or is that liberal for not wanting to admit that there are threats out there that could be nullified, but wouldn't allow the government to take over everything when there is a crisis?

    Or is he just independently stupid?

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(6)
  5. JD
    May 31, 2015 at 7:12 am

    As Bruce alluded to, Upton's longstanding energy Chairmanship 'should' warrant focus that it has not in this state and never has. His district in SW MI is extremely apathetic on ALL issues of local/national importance...which is often where the most powerful in this nation are recruited from traditionally.
    It's a shame that the hugely historic issues currently crossing this man's desk are astonishingly ignored in pretty much all conversations everywhere to date. The outright theft (sale) of and threat to (Mr. Hall's comment above) our country's natural security energy resources has been the largest single generational embarrassment in the history of this country...ever.
    When you have 'intellectuals' who can't even argue the 800 pound elephant in the room or choose to teach their children that this fact is indeed the single biggest threat to their future livelihood until another energy source/system is found or just as importantly protected?
    National and state leaders will have absolutely no problems finding even more "Freds" in likely places.

    'Google' Fred Upton/Aubrey McClendon or Dow Chemical fights natural gas exports (weakly, imo)...and then try to persuade your child that wealthy people crafting complex legislation "..doesn't matter.." in terms of continual (needed) scrutiny as they "..live in isolated districts. or are heirs to multibillion dollar fortunes (Fred) to boot.." (Google also the #1 state political donor/power player who originated from this same area for years; Jon Stryker).

    Ignorance breeds unbridled power and this district is the 'poster boy' for it in terms of a critical issue which has had generation spanning consequences due to this failure of focus. When a grassroots movement can't even come to any kind of consensus as to the largest of issues out there affecting their everyday life...and one of them is literally the communists owning billion dollar interests in their own state treasure..it's hard to jump on board from the get-go. 🙁

    You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(4)

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