Govtrack.us is a non-partisan web site devoted to the study of Congress and its legislative process. It also has on-going scatter diagram studies tracking Members based on the legislation they sponsor and co-sponsor. (Those who have taken a few statistics classes should be familiar with scatter diagrams.)
The diagrams used by the site track members of Congress on two axes: leader-follower and liberal-conservative. Based on the bills a member has sponsored through the current session, the chart will tell you whether the Member is more of a leader than a follower (or vice-versa), or whether they are more liberal than conservative (or vice-versa).
Since I am a constituent of the 2nd District, I decided to check out the data these guys had on my representative, Miss 59%. If you look at the chart behind this link, you will see that the higher a Member is positioned on the vertical axis, the more of a leader they are in their chamber. The lower they are positioned on the vertical axis, the more of a follower (or do-nothing or dead-beat) they tend to be.
The further to the right they fall on the horizontal axis they fall, the more conservative their performance tends to be. The further to the left they tend to fall, the more liberal their performance tends to be.
According to the data compiled by Govtrack.Us, Renee Ellmers ranks near the bottom on the leadership axis and awfully close to the dividing line with the Democrats on the ideology scale.
Miss 59 percent’s campaign ads tell us that she is “North Carolina’s most conservative House member.” NOT according to this chart. Not by a long-shot.
The chart also makes it clear that — in a GOP-dominated House chamber — she is much more of a follower than a leader.
Compare these findings to those for Howard Coble. He fared worse than Ellmers on the leadership axis, but performed much further to the right of Ellmers on the conservative axis.