Learn which elected officials seek common ground.

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Make Better Political Choices Using The Common Ground Scorecard.

Want to see your elected officials seeking points of agreement on social and political issues through listening and productive conversation? Discover Common Grounders and evaluate candidates for office using the Common Ground Scorecard. See how your governor and members of Congress are performing.

Your Vote Directly Influences Public Policy and the Future of Our Nation.

The Common Ground Scorecard provides an objective, easy-to-understand assessment of how your elected officials and candidates for office embody the spirit and practices of a Common Grounder.

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To start, use the search bar and select your criteria or click a congressional district in the map. Then click the orange button that appears.


Common Ground Scorecard FAQ’s

What is the Common Ground Scorecard?

The Common Ground Scorecard provides an objective, easy-to-understand assessment of the degree to which elected officials and candidates for office embody the spirit and practice of a Common Grounder — someone who seeks points of agreement and solutions on social and political issues through listening and productive conversation. The Common Ground Scorecard does not assess issue positions, only common ground spirit and practice. “More progress, less division.”

How do I use the scorecard?

The Common Ground Scorecard awards points on a 100-point scale with an opportunity for 10 additional points. Negative scores can result from the 20 point penalty in the Communication category for any instance of insulting a political opponent in the past three years.

A higher Common Ground Score indicates that the elected official or challenger better embodies the spirit and practice of a Common Grounder, as defined by Common Ground Committee.

The Common Ground Scorecard may be used, alongside other factors, to evaluate candidates for public office. We hope it will also serve to help celebrate and thank current elected officials who demonstrate strong Common Grounder behaviors, and encourage other elected officials and challengers to elevate their Common Ground behavior by taking specific actions to improve their score.

Who is a ‘Common Grounder’ and what characteristics define one?

A “common grounder” is a person who seeks points of agreement on social and political issues through listening and productive conversation.

What does the Common Ground Scorecard measure and how?
Official Performance (30 Points) Scoring Details
Legislators: Bipartisan bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship Source: The Bipartisan Index by The Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy.
Valuation: We award points (1-30) to legislators in the top 75% of Bipartisan Index scores. Legislators in the bottom 25% receive zero (0) points.
Executives: Bipartisan job approval Source: FiveThirtyEight’s Popularity Above Replacement Governor, which measures job approval relative to what would be expected if approval was based purely on the partisanship of the governor and the state’s voters.
Valuation: We award points (1-30) to executives in the top 75% of Popularity Above Replacement Governor (PARG) scores. Executives in the bottom 25% receive zero (0) points.
Candidates without congressional or gubernatorial service: Predictive estimate by statistical modeling Source: Statistical model derived from the performance of officials already in office is used to estimate what the Official Performance of a candidate would be, based on existing candidate data in other categories.
Valuation: 0-30 as determined by the predictive model
Personal Actions (30 points)
Public conversation across political differences. Sources: News media and input from individual’s staff.
Valuation: 15 points except for U.S. House members who earn 10 points
Joining an official from the opposing party for a visit of their district Sources: Bipartisan Policy Center’s American Congressional Exchange, news media, and input from individual’s staff.
Valuation: 15 points except for U.S. House members who earn 10 points
Membership in a common ground focused caucus (Only U.S. House) Sources: Membership lists from the Civility and Respect Caucus, Problem Solvers Caucus, and Future Caucus. Signers list for the Commitment to Civility.
Valuation: 10 points for caucus membership; 5 points for only signing the Commitment to Civility.
Communication (20 points)
Promoting Common Grounder practices. (+) Sources: News media, Vote Smart’s Speeches database, and input from individual’s staff.
Valuation: 20 points for any instance of promoting common ground
Insulting political opponents (-) Sources: News media.
Valuation: -20 points for any instance of insulting a political opponent in the past three years. Resulting Communication score is -20 regardless of promoting common ground.
Commitments (20 points)
I will identify and set aside personal biases. Sources: Affirmation of the individual via their staff.
Valuation: 2 points for each of the ten commitments affirmed.
I will commit to seek agreement, progress, and solutions.
I will listen first to learn perspectives and experiences.
I will not assume, but seek to understand motives and intentions.
I will seek outcomes all can live with but not compromise principles.
I will accept that good people may disagree.
I will use and accept facts.
I will stay respectful.
I will resist demonizing.
I will de-escalate hostile situations.
Bonus: Outstanding Common Grounder (+10 points)
Awarded for common ground behavior or boldly champions common ground. Sources: Bipartisan Policy Center’s Legislative Action Award, Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life, news media, Vote Smart’s Speeches database.

Valuation: +10 points

What is the Maverick Matrix?

The Maverick Matrix™ illustrates the degree to which an elected official seeks common ground relative to the partisan intensity of their constituents, meaning how strongly the area they represent favors one party over the other.

Higher placement on the Maverick Matrix reflects a higher Common Ground Score. Placement farther to the right indicates that the official represents an area more skewed toward one party over the other. The horizontal dividing line (x-axis) represents the median Common Ground Score (26). The vertical dividing line (y-axis) represents the median partisan intensity (22). Constituent partisan intensity is measured by FiveThirtyEight’s Partisan Lean.

The matrix is divided into four labeled quadrants:

  1. Balancers: Balancing constituents more closely divided between the parties, this official is more of a Common Grounder.
  2. Team Players: Consistent with a constituency strongly leaning toward one party, this official is less of a Common Grounder.
  3. True Believers: Despite a constituency more closely divided between the parties, this official is less of a Common Grounder.
  4. Mavericks: Despite a constituency strongly leaning toward one party, this official is more of a Common Grounder.

It’s natural for an official’s degree of common ground spirit and practice to be aligned with the constituency they represent. An official from a more closely politically divided area may be incentivized to seek common ground to appeal to voters of both parties (Balancer). On the other hand, an official representing an area with a strong partisan lean may be incentivized to maintain the position of the dominant party to ensure support from their constituents (Team Player).

However, some officials’ degree of common ground spirit and practice defy the natural incentives of their constituency. An official from a more closely politically divided area may nonetheless maintain more of a partisan than common ground posture (True Believer). Alternatively, an official representing an area with a strong partisan lean may nonetheless serve as more of a Common Grounder. This “Maverick” is most commendable in our view. The Maverick Matrix has identified 106 Mavericks among all governors and members of Congress.

What politicians have scores?

The Common Ground Scorecard evaluates all current members of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), Governors, the President and Vice President. During campaign season, we add major party challengers seeking these offices.

If you are interested in knowing which politicians have the highest and lowest scores please review our summary statistics page.

How are challengers scored?

For candidates without congressional or gubernatorial service, Official Performance points are a predictive estimate using statistical modeling. Personal Actions points may be provisionally awarded for a stated commitment to take the action(s) within the first six months of office, if elected. Communication and Commitments points are earned the same way elected officials earn them. See “What does the Common Ground Scorecard measure and how?”

Because they are not yet representing a constituency, challengers’ profiles do not include the Maverick Matrix.

Which politicians have the highest and lowest scores?

Please review our summary statistics page for this information.

How often is the data updated?

The Common Ground Scorecard will be released annually with all scores updated based on the latest data and research from our sources. Scoring in some categories may be refreshed more frequently as data becomes available.

The Official Performance category will be updated annually upon the annual release of the Lugar Bipartisan Index. The Personal Actions and Communications categories will be updated quarterly. The Commitments category will be updated promptly upon affirmation by a scored individual. Similarly, any validated input from an individual’s staff that enhances their score will be promptly reflected on the Scorecard.

Who created the Common Ground Scorecard?

The Common Ground Scorecard is an initiative of Common Ground Committee, a 501(c)3 non-profit, non-partisan organization focused on bringing healing to the challenges of incivility and polarization facing our nation. Common Ground Committee works for, ‘more progress, less division.’

Who is Common Ground Committee?

As a non-partisan, citizen-led non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Common Ground Committee brings together high-profile panelists of diverse political backgrounds, for example, Donna Brazile and Michael Steele or John Kerry and Condoleeza Rice, to find common ground on divisive issues such as race, taxes, foreign policy, and healthcare.

Our public forums and podcasts invite citizens and leaders to shift their goal from winning arguments to finding points of agreement– common ground – and inspire them to work toward achieving a shared vision of our nation where we work together rather than against each other, to solve the problems that keep us from bringing health, wealth and happiness to all Americans.

What is Common Ground Committee’s mission?

Common Ground Committee is a citizen-led non-profit organization that inspires action on polarizing social and political issues by bringing together prominent leaders with contrary views in public forums, podcasts and online events to find common ground. Free of political agenda and financial influence, our singular focus is bringing light, not heat, to public discourse. “More progress. Less division.”

What is Common Ground Committee’s vision?

Common Ground Committee envisions our nation no longer encumbered by the anger and polarization that prevents both citizens and leaders from moving forward on issues that matter to all of us.

Polarized thinking and governance is a growing challenge among elected officials and citizens that has led to government gridlock and inaction and, increasingly, citizen outrage and violence – right when mutually respectful conversation and bipartisan progress is most needed. Consider the impact of political gridlock, inaction and disempowerment on real people, citizens and non-citizens, throughout our country and how they are directly and immediately affected. Many people in our country wait endlessly for needed changes to the status quo that could dramatically alter their health, wealth and happiness. You probably know people in those situations – or, perhaps, are one yourself.

Can we reverse this situation? Increasingly, the public thinks not. Studies from many independent organizations show that many people, on what has become two opposing sides of the political spectrum, feel the situation is hopeless. People on both sides hunger for true bipartisan behavior and real-world results from our elected public officials.

At Common Ground Committee, we believe that this hunger for real bipartisan solutions can be satisfied and the polarization and anger that deeply impacts our communities and nation can be healed.

We believe it is possible for citizens and leaders to create a personal discourse that builds understanding and uplifts public conversation. This conversation can uncover common ground through passionate civil debate in which facts are valued and participants sincerely listen to each other, then together take the actions necessary to bridge the divide, heal our nation and achieve meaningful, lasting, relevant and credible change for all people throughout our country. We recognize that achieving this vision will take hard work and time. We need your involvement for all of us to succeed.

Why was the Common Ground Scorecard created?

The Common Ground Scorecard (CGS) was created for you, the citizen and voter. We want to provide you with an objective and easy-to-understand tool for you to discover how likely your elected official or candidate for public office is to work with fellow officials of different political views to find the common ground that can lead to progress on issues you care about.

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