America's independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.


Blog Contributors

Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President 

Dan Barrett
Research and Outreach Manager 

Melodie Bowler
Government Affairs Intern 

Demian Brady
Director of Research 

Christina DiSomma
Communications Intern 

Jihun Han
Communications Intern 

Timothy Howland
Creative Content Manager 

Samantha Jordan
Communications Intern 

Curtis Kalin
Communications Intern 

Ross Kaminsky
Blog Contributor 

David Keating
Blog Contributor 

Douglas Kellogg
Communications Manager 

Sharon Koss
Government Affairs Intern 

Michael Liguori
Government Affairs Intern 

Richard Lipman
Director of Development 

Joe Michalowski
Government Affairs Intern 

Diana Oprinescu
Communications Intern 

Austin Peters
Communications Intern 

Kristina Rasmussen
Blog Contributor 

Republican Presidential Primary Contenders’ Ratings on Taxpayer Issues

Douglas Kellogg
December 21, 2011

The Iowa and New Hampshire primaries are fast approaching, and from there the Republican primary race will swiftly move on to South Carolina and Florida. 

Although the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) does not endorse Presidential candidates, citizens and media inside and outside of these key battleground states have expressed interest in NTU’s Congressional Rating data for those Republican hopefuls who have served as federal lawmakers. And now their fiscal records are neatly summarized here!

Unlike some groups who look at only a handful of “key votes,” NTU’s Rating assesses the fiscal record of Members of Congress by looking at every single roll call vote affecting taxes, spending, and significant regulation. We then weight each vote from 1 to 100 based on importance (with 1 being a program of little significance, and 100 being something like the recent health care bill or the TARP bailout). Each Member’s roll call votes are then compared against our list, resulting in percentage scores on a scale of 1-100. A 100% score (which has never been achieved in the history of our Rating) would indicate that a Member supported the pro-taxpayer position on every vote. NTU did not start issuing letter grades to better interpret scores until 1992. 


Career Avg. Score

Grade Avg. (Post-1992)

Chamber Avg. Score

Party Avg. Score

Newt Gingrich





Ron Paul





Rick Santorum





Michele Bachmann





***Chart organized by length of service & seniority***

It is important to note the difference between a given candidate’s pro-taxpayer score and the chamber’s and party’s performance - averages of which are provided for each candidate during the years they were in Congress. This is because some Congresses are significantly more pro-taxpayer than others. The 104th Congress is a good example, as the influx of conservative members from the 1994 “Republican Revolution” led to a much more conservative Congress, on average. Thus, the difference between the chamber and party averages and the Member’s average score is instructive as to how a record stacks up against their contemporaries.

Also of note, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have voting sessions where their scores were calculated based on very few votes. Gingrich’s score from 1995 to 1998 was dependent on a small number of issues, since as Speaker of the House he voted relatively rarely and at his own discretion. Ron Paul’s attendance for votes was lower than average in 1984. Finally, Rick Santorum’s scores include time in both the House and Senate.

NTU has no data on candidates who have not served in Congress, like Jon Huntsman, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney. Resources and commentaries on their fiscal records over the years can be found via the Cato Institute, Citizens for Limited Taxation in Massachusetts, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, and the Utah Taxpayers Association, among others.

Of course, this snapshot can’t portray the ups and downs of annual scores and grades. To access NTU’s Rating of Congress database click HERE.


Comment on this blog

Enter this word:

User Comments

Submitted by RickyKlowe at: August 28, 2014
Everyone has his own president. Most importantly, there is new change and he can bring new hope later. best app for samsung smart tv

Submitted by DemetriusMonahan at: August 28, 2014
Whoever will get the election, the one thing for sure is he is able to change how people think to this country. It doesn't need to transform everything. I like this site :: Penguin friendly Search Engine Optimization Seattle top service

Submitted by Mirian21 at: August 23, 2014
PuClash de Clans est un jeu très populaire Android / iPod / iPad / iPhone réalisés par le "supercell". Il maintenant disponible mondialement sur ​​iTunes Store pour gratuitement depuis sa sortie le 2 Août 2012 et aussi sur le Play Store de Google depuis l'époque il était launched.ey viendra de Supercell la vente de GungHo.... clash of clans hack

Submitted by BonneiBernnet at: August 22, 2014
A president can bring a new change for a country. No matter if it's coming from republican or democrat as long as he is qualified.

Submitted by AmosWojcik at: August 20, 2014
Whoever will win the election, one thing for sure is he can change how people think to this country. It doesn't need to change everything. mobilespy

Submitted by Anonymous at: August 16, 2014
I was reading your article and wondered if you had considered creating an ebook on this subject. learn how to play poker

Submitted by FairTaxer at: February 25, 2012
Surely wish you could score Mitt Romney's record in MA. It would be helpful for many that remain undecided. That said, thank you so much for all the work you do. NTU is one of my favorite go to sites.

Submitted by Ryan at: February 24, 2012
How is a 75.2% considered a B+? It sounds like a solid C to me. Looking at Ron Paul's Score of 90.75% he should have an A-. The GPA calculators are interesting because they buck conventional standards we're used to seeing in school. I mean to say that Ron Paul has a 15 point advantage over Rick santorum but their GPA grades look much Closer. An "A" doesn't sound like such a difference over a "B+" but the point difference is fairly large.