A measure of leadership is taking responsibility for appearing and voting for bills and resolutions.  Of the three remaining candidates, Clinton has the best record, and Obama has the worst.  Obama has been in the Senate the shortest amount of time, yet he has the worst Senate voting record of the three candidates.

Clinton has missed 7% since 2001, McCain has missed 17% since 1997, and Obama has missed 18% since 2005.  Many of the missed votes have come during heavy campaigning with all three candidates’ records showing a spike in the last half of 2007.

The following charts show the voting records of all three candidates since their election to their Senate seats. 

  • The absentee rate is in red.
  • The lower black dotted line shows the median value for all Members of Congress in that time period.
  • The upper black dotted line shows the 90th percentile. That is, a member above the upper dotted line is in the company of just one out of ten of his or her peers in missing that many votes.


Obama’s Senate voting record – missed 18% in 3 years
McCain’s Senate voting record – missed 17% in 10 years
Clinton’s Senate voting record – missed 7% in 6 years

When employers look at potential employees, one of the most important factors – if not the most important factor – is reliability and showing up for work.  We should expect no less from a candidate.  While it may be physically impossible to campaign and completely fulfill the obligation to appear to vote when necessary, Clinton’s voting record shows that she has managed to balance the two competing forces much more efficiently and effectively than Obama.

An employer would not keep an employee if that employee missed almost 20% of the time.  Fortunately, voters have the luxury of knowing the voting records ahead of time and can decide whether demonstrating leadership in the performance of senatorial obligations is, indeed, important or not.  Personally,  I think it is. 



  1. You have a big apples-to-oranges problem with your analysis. This is just a complicated way of saying that Clinton and McCain have been in D.C. a lot longer than Obama. They all look pretty much the same since early 2007. McCain is notable for a dramatic increase in missed votes starting back in 2006.

  2. Doug:

    A percentage is a percentage. Yes, Clinton and McCain have been there longer, but it would seem to me that missing 18% of your votes in less than 3 years is not a very good showing no matter what the reason, especially since McCain has been there for quite some time and Obama has already matched his record. It would seem that this high of a percentage is worse since he hasn’t been there as long, and it doesn’t demonstrate a very good track record.

    Obama started missing in the second quarter of 2007, only a little over two years into his Senate term. He had barely served one third of his Senate term when he decided to announce for president.

    I am sure his followers do not see this as a problem. His constitutents may be a different story, although I doubt that. I am just providing an interesting fact. The website that has this information also allows you to track legislation and legislators’ votes.

  3. I did check it out. It said Tuzla was the first stop – she was to visit three bases that day, I would assume in different parts of the country. The video discounts one stop, not the other two. So any video from the other two visits? Or did they go by caravan and not fly? If that were the case, then it would appear she didn’t remember correctly.

    I am amazed at the number of people out there who hate her so much that they are willing to jump isntantly on anything she says or does.

  4. Outsider222:

    Believe me – I know on the age thing. I turned 60, and I feel like I forget more. Maybe I am just super aware now. I know she visited three bases that year (1996), so perhaps she was thinking of another base.

    You’re right though, when so many things can be checked, why on earth would she make up the story?

    I do like her now although I haven’t always liked her. The more I watch her, and the more I read, I believe she is the best choice for president.

    The thing that concerns me most about Obama truly is his lack of experience. His followers seem to have placed him on a pedestal and think he can do no wrong.

    As I have aged, I find myself less and less likely to buy into the hero worship and idolization of any candidate (or person for that matter). No one is perfect, and I think that will become ever more apparent as Obama remains in the spotlight.

  5. Let’s think about this…

    First, these charts are terrible. Note for Clinton and McCain they are cut off BEFORE they announced candidacy. Not true for Obama. Put your hand over the last inch of the Obama’s chart and tell me who is best of the three.

    If Weybright were interested in displaying this in an unbiased manner, it would show that the only Senator to miss more votes in the current Senate than McCain is Tim Johnson. Of course, his excuse of months of hospitalization after a brain hemorrhage is a bit better than whatever McCain’s excuse may be.

    In fact, it is not even close between for anyone else. McCain has missed 57% of votes this Congress. Makes Obama’s 38% and Clinton’s 28% almost look reasonable.

    Of course, Weybright is right, employers are concerned about showing up for work. But these people are not interviewing for the Senate. They are interviewing for President. I would be more concerned if they were too busy in the Senate to interview for the most important job in the world.

  6. Mike:

    Tim Johnson isn’t running for president at the same time he is supposed to be representing his constituency.

    So, tell me, how do you justify being “too busy in the Senate” representing those people who are paying you from your home state?

    That comment kind of shows a disdain for the consitutencies of all three senators.

    The three have jobs and those jobs entail representing their respective state citizens to the best of their abilities. If missing percentages of votes – considered poor compared to their colleagues – in Congress is representing to the best of their abilities, then their consitutencies are certainly not getting what they paid for.

    Illinois, New York, and Arizona “hired” the senators. Apparently, the three senators have decided running for president is more important than those they represent.

  7. According to this, McCain missed a LOT more votes than Obama in the 109th Congress.

    Sen. John McCain

    * Missed Votes (110th Congress): 118 of 229 (51.5%)
    * Missed Votes (109th Congress): 58 of 645 (9%)
    * Missed Votes (108th Congress): 12 of 675 (1.8%)

    Sen. Barack Obama

    * Missed Votes (110th Congress): 23 of 229 (10.5%)
    * Missed Votes (109th Congress): 11 of 645 (1.7%)
    * Missed Votes (108th Congress): Not A Member Of 108th Congress

    The actual numbers.

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