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About Vote Smart

About the Political Courage Test

Measures each candidate's willingness to provide citizens with their positions on key issues. Most candidates, fearing their opponents might use their positions in attack ads, refuse or only respond to a few questions that their consultants stamp as safe. Each candidate is repeatedly confronted with these issue questions by Vote Smart, national media and political leaders of both major parties.

Political Courage Test Results

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Current Candidates in Your State

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Mice or Men?

Political Courage, Mice or Men?

Mouse Excuses

Vote Smart Fights Back

We're researching candidates' public records, statements, and evaluations, so candidates can no longer hide on 15 major issues. All candidates are invited to clarify their answers at any time. Vote Smart makes it easy to see how well you match up to candidates on the Courage Test with VoteEasy.

Information for Candidates
Information for Journalists

How are Courage Test issue questions selected?

The Political Courage Test is a collaborative effort between Vote Smart and over 200 political scientists, journalists, and leaders from across the political spectrum. The issues included on the Test are the top concerns of the American people and are likely to come up in the next legislative session. They are determined by a rigorous examination of national and local polls, the majority, minority and third party platforms, State of the Union and Response speeches, State of the State and Response speeches, and legislative agendas. Every effort is made to ensure that the test is as unbiased as possible. View the current Political Courage Test forms.

Use Policy

Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any partisan activity, including advertising.

For more information, contact Vote Smart at 1-888-868-3762 or email

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