OpenCongress’ Battle Royale


OpenCongress has just launched Battle Royale, their new feature that collects all the data about Congress generated by users of “My OpenCongress” since January 2008.  David Moore, OpenCongress’ director, describes it as a “Billboard Chart” for legislation or a “Digg” for Congress. Battle Royale lets you see what bills people are loving or hating. It will gauge their user community’s views on legislation by stacking up all the bills, issues, and members of Congress. “This new tool is a key part of our work to harness the social wisdom created on OpenCongress and make it accessible & useful across the Web,” David wrote in an email. One purpose of Battle Royale is to give a bird’s eye view for researching the public’s opinion of Congress. Check it out and you’ll find a list of the top ten most supported and most opposed bills of the past 30 days on OpenCongress.

The most popular bill of the 110th Congress is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2008. This certainly makes sense considering the state of the economy and the fact that new jobless claims are now at a 26-year high. Their users have given the bill the most “aye” votes, the most comments and the most users are tracking it than any other. The least popular bill is the Global Poverty Act of 2007, despite the fact that President-elect Barack Obama is the bill’s leading sponsor in the Senate. Users have voted “nay” on this bill more than twice as much as any other bill. Funny enough, the bill ranks as the fourth most voted for bill as well.

At the site you can see the popularity ratings of each member of Congress, as well as a list of the most tracked issues on Capitol Hill.

Obviously, groups and individuals with an agenda (or an axe to grind) can use the site to show interest on their issues and to help move or block legislation. We think this might catch on as an advocacy tool.

If you have a Digg account, give a quick digg and help spread the word.

Check it out and join in!