People have been playing around with this tool from Clarity Campaign Labs that tells you how Democratic or Republican a first name is by comparing it to registered voters across the country. We decided to put it to the test with the most partisan group in America: Congress.
First, here's how it works. Quite simply, you head to the website and plug in your name. Here's mine.
Straightforward. Says more Philips are Republican and that most Philips have a college degree. (Interestingly, Phillips — with two Ls — are slightly less Republican and much less likely to have college degrees. This is likely a function of age. But I digress.)
After discovering the tool, the next fun thing to do was to see how famous politicians stacked up. So we learned:
- There are 31 voters named Barack, who are 76.5 percent Democratic.
- There are, by contrast, 265,731 voters named Joe, who are only 54.8 percent Democratic.
- There are 42 Beyonces, who are 77.2 percent Democratic.
And so on. Interestingly, there are only 63 "Mitt"s, who are 56.4 percent Democratic. But there are 39,688 "Willard"s — who are 54.1 percent Republican. Mitt Romney's name itself was wishy-washy.
We took this game one step further. We plugged the first names of every member of Congress into the tool (we automated it) to figure out just how Democratic and Republican our Congress is. Here's what we discovered.
- The names of members of Congress are slightly more Democratic than Republican. On average, the names were 50.65 percent Democratic.
- Republicans' names were, on average, 51.17 percent Republican.
- Democrats' names were, on average, 52.67 percent Democratic.
- The Senate's two independent senators had names that were Democratic.
- Senate Republicans' names were slightly more Republican than House Republicans' names, 51.75 to 51.06 percent.
- House Democrats' names were way more Democratic than Senate Democrats' names, 53.18 to 50.78 percent.
In part, that last statistic is a function of the diversity of the House Democratic caucus. There are more non-traditional names in the House than on the other side of the Capitol, because, quite simply, there are more people of color in the House.
We also looked at the most and least Democratic and Republican names in each party. Here's what resulted.
|Most Democratic name||Most Republican name|
|Democrats||Rep. Chaka Fattah
|Sen. Dick Durbin
|Republicans||Sen. Lamar Alexander
|Sen. Saxby Chambliss
There are 10 "Saxby"s registered to vote in America. Some names don't appear in the database: Steny (Hoyer), Markwayne (Mullin).
The important takeaway is this: Congress is pretty evenly balanced between Democrats and Republicans, at least as far as their names are concerned. For those of you deeply worried about centrist governance, that's about as good as you're going to get.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.