Key to the Democrats’ attack against McCain in recent weeks has been the statistic that he “votes with George Bush 90 percent of the time.” The figure comes from the Congressional Quarterly “Vote Studies Workbook” which can be found here. CQ measured all votes where President Bush was known to express a position, so of course, as they acknowledge, most of the votes in question are not all that controversial. Along with the “voted with the president” number, they also measured party loyalty by the percentage of votes in which a member voted with his party when the vote tended to break down by party lines.
The results for the three senators running in this race are not necessarily what the Democrats wish they were. Both Obama and Biden, for instance, turn out to have very high party loyalty, following the extremely unpopular leaders of the Democratic senate on almost every close vote. Obama’s party loyalty score was 96%, making him a more orthodox Democrat than even the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, whose score was 93%. Biden was tied with Reid, at 93%. John McCain, meanwhile, had a party loyalty score of 81%, among the lowest in the Republican conference, as many of his fellow Republican senators could no-doubt attest.
On support for the president, it’s true that John McCain voted with Bush’s position on 90% of the bills measured, which is also the average figure for Senate Republicans as a whole. Obama, true to his down-the-line partisanship, only supported Bush 40% of the time. But Joe Biden sided with Bush more often than not: 52% of the time.