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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Candidates Running in 2011 Lack Courage

2011 October 17 - Darren McDivitt

""It shouldn't take courage for a politician to complete a survey regarding positions on issues. Yet seemingly it does." - South Bend Tribune Response rates from the 2011 Political Courage Testing of candidates running in Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, and New Jersey are in, and it's no surprise that the vast majority of candidates are still refusing to provide straight answers to straight questions. KY - 0% candidates for governor returned the Test MS - 0% of candidates for governor returned the Test, and only 5% of state legislative candidates VA - 7% of candidates for state legislature returned the Test NJ - 17% of candidates for state legislature returned the Test LA - 11% of candidates for state legislature and only 1 of the 10 candidates for governor returned the Test. Even following repetitious requests by mail, fax, and e-mail, including contacts from local media and leaders of their own political parties, candidates' still failed to provide voters with information on how they may handle the job if hired this November. As part of a growing national trend, Political Courage Test response rates have steadily fallen from a high of seventy-two percent (72%) in 1996, to an all-time low of thirty-eight percent (38%) in 2010. Project Vote Smart has found that party leaders and consultants from both major parties are advising candidates not to respond to the Test for two primary reasons: it will limit the candidates' ability to control their campaign messages and it will expose them to opposition research. Regardless of candidates’ reluctance to provide citizens with ...

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