More Waxman-Markey Whip Count Analysis, via

Chris recently dug into the Waxman-Markey House vote from June 26th, trying to determine the  real margin for error leadership was facing. My inclination is that Pelosi & Co could’ve whipped up something like 225-230 votes if they needed to, but they didn’t need to. While I could add a few points to that, I instead defer to the always-insightful analysis of’s Nate Silver:

So what are the general takeaways here?

— People on the whole were pretty rational in trying to balance “selfish” traits (their own ideology; lobbying influences) against “unselfish” ones (the economic and political characteristics of their districts).
— Nevertheless, the playing field is fairly broad, as there are quite a few representatives for whom these traits balance out in ambiguous ways. Some 95 representatives — about 20 percent of the House — were deemed to have between a 10 percent and a 90 percent chance of voting for the bill and can reasonably be described as swing votes.
— Cap-and-trade differs from health care in that there are particular private sector groups that would appear to benefit from its passage: nuclear power and renewable energy providers. Although the nuclear energy lobby is small, and the alternative energy industry lobby is very small, they nevertheless appear to have had some influence; nuclear is a big, untold part of this story. On the other hand, the effects of the agricultural lobby appear to have been mostly neutralized, perhaps because of concessions made in the bill to farm-state Democrats.
— This bill faces long, but not impossible, odds in the Senate.

And like clockwork, this morning Nate released the results of a similar regression analysis predicting a climate bill’s fate in the Senate. There is some useful commentary, but the tables below are where the rubber meets the road:

This seems to me like an incredibly tough path to 60. Assuming you hold onto everyone through Snowe and Collins (far from a given), it’s still necessary to pick up 7 votes from the conservative Dem coterie. And looking at those names makes me cringe. Yes, our good friend Evan Bayh is only the ninth least likely D vote for a climate bill. Take a good look at this second-to-last list, Mr. President. You’ll be calling its inhabitants early and often over the next couple of years.

Will the usual negotiating carrots and sticks work on this crew? As they say, only time will tell.


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