Narrow Margin Voting Records (110th Congress)
I tallied the votes without showing any favoritism towards Democrats or Republicans. The tallying of the votes is delineated by instances in which Biden, McCain, and Obama voted with their party, against their party, or abstained from voting. In addition, the votes are categorized using an over-simplified topic or predominating theme (e.g., abortion, adoption tax credit). The results:
Summary of Biden, McCain, and Obama Voting Records
One of my professors from the Crosby MBA Program at the University of Missouri said "The best indicator of future performance is past performance." With that maxim in mind, it is time to summarize which senators put their money where their mouth is and is truthfully using the campaign slogan "that's not change, that's more of the same." In sum, the results are very disappointing because all three senators vote with their party a majority of the time during narrow margin votes.
Joseph Biden - Joseph Biden has been a party "yes man" voting with the Democrats 88% of the time on narrow margin votes.
John McCain - Over the last two years, John McCain has not lived up to his self-proclaimed "maverick" title because he only voted against his party 4% of the time in narrow margin votes.
Barack Obama - Considering he abstained from voting 44% of the time, Barack Obama can not be expected to bring change since he did not take a stance (i.e., vote) on many important issues; unless you consider abstaining as taking a stance. It should be noted that like Obama, 37 other senators did not vote against their party in a single narrow margin vote.Apparently, presidential political strategy is for candidates to vote inline with their party or to abstain, neither of which provides much information to the voting American public. Unfortunately, comparing Sarah Palin's gubernatorial record to the three senators records would be like comparing apples to oranges so her maverick status must be determined some other way.
The Real Mavericks
Finally, the following spreadsheet highlights the senators who voted against their party the most during narrow margin votes and, specifically, the senators that crossed the aisle on important issues. Thus, this is the list of the real bipartisan mavericks. It needs to be noted that this list excludes the two independents Joseph Lieberman and Bernard Sanders, who are mavericks simply by being independents. Ben Nelson the Democratic senator from Nebraska and George Voinovich the Republican senator from Ohio have led the bipartisan effort over the last two years during narrow margin votes.