Definitive Ratings: The House's Most Conservative and Liberal Members

Todd Akin, of "legitimate rape," fame was farthest to the right, while 14 Democrats tied as the most left-wing members of the legislature.

Everyone knows American politics are unusually polarized these days. But who stands at the left and right poles? Our colleagues at National Journal are this week releasing their annual rankings of how liberal and conservative members of the House of Representatives are.

On the right side of the aisle, it will surprise almost no one that former Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri was the most conservative member of the House in 2012. Akin, of course, came to prominence with his ill-advised, ill-informed suggestion that in the case of "legitimate rape," a woman's body can prevent conception. That comment helped him crash and burn in his attempt to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill. Akin scored a 97.0 on NJ's scale.

Meanwhile, it's a crowded scene on the Democratic side: A whopping 14 legislators tied for the lead, with a 94.5 liberal ranking. Among the notable names on that list are John Conyers, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, and Bobby Rush.

Here are the leaderboards on both sides. Previous years' rankings are available here.

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David A. Graham is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers political and global news. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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