Political scientists gauge ideology in part by comparing the annual ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) with the ratings by the American Conservative Union (ACU). Kennedy had a lifetime liberal 90 percent score from the ADA through 2004, while the ACU awarded Kennedy a lifetime conservative rating of 2 percent through 2008. Using another metric, Kennedy had a lifetime average liberal score of 88.7 percent, according to a National Journal analysis that places him ideologically as the third-most liberal senator of all those in office in 2009. A 2004 analysis by political scientists Joshua D. Clinton of Princeton University and Simon Jackman and Doug Rivers of Stanford University examined some of the difficulties in making this kind of analysis, and found Kennedy likely to be the 8th-to-15th-most liberal Senator during the 108th Congress. The Almanac of American Politics rates congressional votes as liberal or conservative on the political spectrum, in three policy areas: economic, social, and foreign. For 2005–2006, Kennedy's average ratings were as follows: the economic rating was 91 percent liberal and 0 percent conservative, the social rating was 89 percent liberal and 5 percent conservative, and the foreign rating was 96 percent liberal and 0 percent conservative.
Various interest groups gave Kennedy scores or grades as to how well his votes aligned with the positions of each group. The American Civil Liberties Union gave him an 84 percent lifetime score as of 2009. During the 1990s and 2000s, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood typically gave Kennedy ratings of 100 percent, while the National Right to Life Committee typically gave him a rating of less than 10 percent. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gave Kennedy a lifetime rating of 100 percent through 2002, while National Rifle Association gave Kennedy a lifetime grade of 'F' (failing) as of 2006.
Read more about this topic: Ted Kennedy
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