How Liberal is President Obama, Really?

President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in Washington about the nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

[The Washington Post]

President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in Washington about the nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in Washington about the nuclear deal between six world powers and Iran that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

I’m not a particularly ideological person,” President Obama told a group of Democratic donors at a fundraiser in Seattle on Sunday night.

Republican eyes’ rolled.  This president, they believe, is one of the most ideological — and liberal — chief executives in modern history, as evidenced by his records from the state Senate to the U.S. Senate to the White House. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted earlier this month, 45 percent of respondents said Obama was too liberal for them. Gallup polling shows that the gap between how Obama is perceived by Democrats and Republican approaches historic highs for the office.

So, what does his record say? Is Obama the most liberal president in recent history or, as he contends, something well short of an ideological warrior?

In attempt to answer that question as close to definitively as possible, we went digging into National Journal’s vote ratings and the DW-Nominate scores for answers.

Let’s start with National Journal’s vote ratings.  There are three years — 2005, 2006 and 2007 — that can be analyzed. (Obama didn’t vote enough on NJ’s key votes in 2008 to register a score.)

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