After analyzing the voting records of members of Congress, a consumer group has hailed 73 of them as "heroes" and 26 of them as "zeroes."
This year's heroes, according to the Consumer Federation of America, the nation's largest consumer group, include five Republicans who scored 92 percent in an analysis of how often legislators supported consumer issues, compared with previous ratings in which only one Republican scored above 90 percent.
Of the zeroes, four were Democrats and 22 were Republicans; 68 Democrats ranked as heroes.
Other trends that emerged, according to federation legislative representative Alan Fox, were:
* Partisan differences narrowed. While ratings for Democrats in both houses declined, the ratings for Republicans rose. The Senate Democrats, as a group, scored an average of 56 percent on consumer issues in 1984, down from the 1983 average of 62 percent. House Democrats scored 70 percent last year, down from the previous year's 76 percent. Republican ratings rose in the Senate from 26 percent to 40 percent and in the House from 18 percent to 30 percent.
* A new coalition formed. A group of "neoliberal" Democrats joined with some "free-market" Republicans to vote against more traditional members of both parties on issues involving support for antitrust enforcement and opposition to energy industry subsidies.
* Pro-consumer issues get wide support. Although average scores for members of Congress from southern and western states is low, the 73 federation heroes represent 26 states.
The 12 issues on which the analysis was based ranged from food and nutrition to health and safety. On Aug. 8, 1984, for instance, the House voted 313-80 on a procedural motion that led to consideration of the Generic Drug Law, which would streamline federal approval of cheaper generic drugs. The federation counted a yes on the motion as the correct vote for consumers.
Altogether, there were 24 key consumer votes -- 12 in each house -- in 1984, according to federation president Steve Brobeck. He said 13 of the votes resulted in consumer victories, but he added that "many were victories in favor of the status quo, such as retaining residential energy tax credits or preserving child nutrition funds."
The heroes list included Sens. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), 92 percent; Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) and Paul E. Tsongas (D-Mass.), all scoring 83 percent.
Heroes in the House who scored 100 percent, all of them Democrats, were Reps. Don Bonker and Mike Lowry (Wash.); George E. Brown Jr., Matthew G. Martinez and Edward R. Roybal (Calif.); Harold E. Ford (Tenn.); Samuel Gejdenson (Conn.); Tom Harkin (Iowa); Mary Rose Oakar and Louis Stokes (Ohio); David R. Obey (Wis.); Solomon P. Ortiz (Tex.); Charles B. Rangel and James H. Scheuer (N.Y.); William B. Richardson (N.M.), and Gerry E. Sikorski and Bruce F. Vento (Minn.).
Those who scored 92 percent were Democrats Gary L. Ackerman, Thomas J. Downey, Robert Garcia, Matthew F. McHugh, Robert J. Mrazek, Major R. Owens and Ted Weiss (N.Y.); Daniel K. Akaka (Hawaii); Michael D. Barnes, Barbara A. Mikulski and Parren J. Mitchell (Md.); Barbara Boxer, Tony Coelho, Ronald V. Dellums, Norman Y. Mineta, Esteban E. Torres and Henry A. Waxman (Calif.); Brian J. Donnelly, Barney Frank and Gerry E. Studds (Mass.); John Conyers Jr., Dennis M. Hertel, Dale E. Kildee and Howard E. Wolpe (Mich.); Wayne Dowdy (Miss.); Bob Edgar, Thomas M. Foglietta and Peter H. Kostmayer (Pa.); Lane A. Evans, Charles A. Hayes and Melvin Price (Ill.); James J. Florio, James J. Howard, Joseph G. Minish and Robert G. Torricelli (N.J.); Andrew Jacobs Jr. and Frank McCloskey (Ind.); Robert W. Kastenmeier (Wis.); Mickey Leland (Tex.); James L. Oberstar (Minn.); William R. Ratchford (Conn.); Alan D. Wheat (Mo.); Pat Williams (Mont.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.).
The Republican heroes were House members Sherwood L. Boehlert and Benjamin A. Gilman (N.Y.); Silvio O. Conte (Mass.); Christopher H. Smith (N.J.), and John R. McKernan Jr. (Maine).
At the bottom of the federation's list were three House members who did not score a single point: Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), George Hansen (R-Idaho) and Stan Parris (R-Va.).
The zeroes list included several senators who scored 17 percent: David L. Boren (D-Okla.); Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.); Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.); Chic Hecht and Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.); Russell B. Long (D-La.), and John C. Stennis (D-Miss.).
Zeroes in the House who scored 8 percent were Texans Bill Archer (R), Steve Bartlett (R) and Marvin Leath (D); Robert E. Badham and William E. Dannemeyer (R-Calif.); Danny L. Burton (R-Ind.); John N. Erlenborn (R-Ill.); Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.); Thomas F. Hartnett (R-S.C.); Thomas N. Kindness, Bob McEwen and Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio); Ken Kramer (R-Colo.); David D. Marriott (R-Utah); Bob Stump (R-Ariz.), and Robert S. Walker (R-Pa.).