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Media

A Majority of California, Idaho, and Iowa Candidates Fail to Disclose Issue Positions to Voters

23 May 2008
Written by

Project Vote Smart released the 2008 California, Idaho, and Iowa Political Courage Test results this week, showing that a majority of primary candidates for State Legislature and Congress in these states were unwilling to answer questions on the issues that are of top concern to voters, such as questions regarding hate crime legislation, the employment of undocumented immigrants, the possible constitutional convention, the death penalty, access to health care and the licensing of gun possession. Percentage of candidates completing Political Courage Test listed below:

California Congressional Candidates: 20%
California State Legislature Candidates: 14%

Idaho Congressional Candidates: 32%
Idaho State Legislature Candidates: 23%

Iowa Congressional Candidates: 15%
Iowa State Legislature Candidates: 4%

The Political Courage Test asks all candidates one central question: "Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face on their behalf?" It is conducted nationally over the last 12 months of each election season. Illinois legislative and Congressional candidates were contacted repeatedly over three weeks and asked by prominent leaders of both major parties and by Project staff, if they were willing to provide their issue inclinations in the public interest.

Candidates advancing to the general election will have the opportunity to respond to the test again, when tested later this year.

Since 2000, Project Vote Smart has found that party leaders and consultants are advising candidates not to respond to the Political Courage Test for two primary reasons: it will limit the candidates' ability to control their campaign messages, and it will expose them to opposition research.

Kimball counters this cynical attitude. "If candidates are afraid of letting their opponents know where they stand on key issues, how can they possibly let the voters know how they will handle the job if they are hired? Candidates have lost sight of who their prospective employers are. One campaign consultant told us, ‘It's not our job to educate-it's our job to win."

The Political Courage Test has been created, designed, and drafted by more than 200 of the nation's most prominent journalists, political scientists, and leaders of the major and third political parties.

The results of the Test for California congressional candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test for California state senate candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test For California state assembly candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test For Idaho congressional candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test for Idaho state senate candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test for Idaho state house candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test for Iowa congressional candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test for Iowa state senate candidates can be found HERE

The results of the Test for Iowa state house candidates can be found HERE

For more information about the Political Courage Test HERE or call our toll-free voter's hotline at 1-888-VOTE-SMART

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