Why Congress might be more productive and less partisan than you think (Part II)

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In a recent analysis, we found that Congress is less partisan and more collegial than commonly believed; about 40 percent of bills in the 113th Congress attracted some bipartisan support. Thanks to data from our Congress API, we now know why and which members of Congress are reaching across the proverbial aisle.

Using bulk data, we were able to isolate the birthdays of members of Congress to determine their zodiac signs to assess productivity in this never before conducted analysis. The results are conclusive and statistically significant: Astrology has a direct and causal relationship to bill co-sponsorship in Congress.

A pie chart showing which Zodiac signs are most prevalent in Congress.
Figure 1. The Wheel of Congressional Zodiac. Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation


Wheel of Congressional Zodiac: Which signs rule

The astrological signs of the 114th Congress are fairly distributed across the celestial sphere. With communication, drive to express self, faith, socialization, conceptualization, practicality, caution, enthusiasm, emotion, material world, empathy, sensitivity, action, initiative, resistance to change and adaptability all represented in the halls of Congress, no wonder there is gridlock. But certain sign pairings are destined for harmony regardless of whether Mercury is in retrograde.

A party breakdown of the astrological signs of Congress in bar chart form.
Figure 2. A party breakdown of the astrological signs of Congress. Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation

Figure 2 illustrates the partisan breakdown in both the House and Senate. True to form, Libra is the only sign that’s perfectly balanced between Republicans and Democrats in the House while the scale tips completely to Democrats in the Senate. As for other signs, the archer representing Sagittarius is sorely underrepresented in the House although their clear thinking and big picture point of view is respected in the Senate.

A network of congressional signs displaying which cross paths most often.
Figure 3. A network of congressional signs displaying which cross paths most often. Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation

An Air Around Compromise in Congress

Of the four different elements governing the sun signs — air, water, fire and earth — two of the most productive signs, Gemini and Aquarius are air elements. Those influenced by air tend to be balanced, flexible and able to consider competing perspectives. Communication is not just a strong suit, it’s an ethos and a way of life. Figure 3 is a network graph illustrating the pathways of co-sponsorship with the channel of communication being the thickest from air signs.

The constellations governing our night sky provide invaluable insights into the workings of Congress. Astrological compatibility can revitalize perceptions of Congress and augment previous indicators of partisanship such as voting patterns and ideological interests. Figure 4 provides a one-on-one pairing for each sign and their cosmic cohort.

A matrix showing the compatibility of congressional member's zodiac signs. The strength in co-sponsorship is represented by shades of yellow (low co-sponsorship) and blue (high).
Figure 4. A matrix showing the compatibility of congressional member’s zodiac signs.

Further analysis of top performing pairs is congruous with the earlier analysis regarding air signs and their productivity. In particular, Geminis are the most productive sign in Congress. This should be of no surprise considering the nature of the Twins to symbolize both the yin and the yang. The duality of the Geminian fosters adaptivity, dexterity, and mental acuity. While some may judge Gemini’s ability to change with the winds as shallow, it is clearly a useful trait in Congress.

A chart showing the least and most productive astrological pairs.
Figure 5. The most and least productive astrological pairs in Congress. Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation

Conversely, Pisces pairs perform poorly. Figure 5 highlights all five of the least productive astrological pairs as Piscean. This could be because Pisces are ruled by the heart and have a tendency to get caught up in their dreams and visions of utopia. When rejected, the fish often times will swim away in melancholy and pessimism. The least productive Pisces pair is the Pisces + Leo combination. The compassionate and sensitive fish will not compete with the natural pride and ambition of the lion. This combination is almost 41% less productive than the collaborators made in cosmic bill heaven: Gemini and Taurus.


Astrology is the key to unlocking how government works. At Sunlight, we have known this fact for a while and have now finally embraced our roots. Open data can play a vital role in this work by making public the necessary information, such as the exact time and place of birth for members of Congress, to conduct the more accurate moon sign calculations. We look forward to making this dataset as well as the Chinese Zodiac available in the near future in the Congress API.