19 October 2011
Written by Carly Griffin
GREAT DIVIDE RANCH, Mont., October 19, 2011 - Project Vote Smart released the 2011 Political Courage Test results for Louisiana candidates today, showing only eleven percent (11%) of state legislative candidates were willing to provide their positions on key issues addressed inside the Test (See complete statistical results for state legislative candidates here). Among candidates for governor, Cary Deaton was the only candidate willing to answer questions posed by the Political Courage Test, which covers issue areas including education, abortion, crime, and the economy. Louisiana candidates' unwillingness to provide voters with their issue positions is part of a growing national trend, as 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. 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. "When candidates decide to hide behind talking points and manipulative campaign tactics, they are contributing to a deliberate dumbing down of the American electorate," said Richard Kimball, Project Vote Smart President. "When you keep your opponent in the dark, you keep the voter there as well." Since 1992, the Political Courage Test has asked all candidates in every state one central question: "Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face if elected?" Candidates who reply "yes" to that question are presented with several issue categories in which they are asked to indicate support or opposition to given principles, or reply using their own language entirely. Regardless of Louisiana candidates' reluctance to provide citizens with their issue positions, voters may still utilize Vote Smart's free and trusted information on candidates including their voting records, public statements, interest group ratings, biographies, and more, in order to cast a more informed vote. This information is all found at www.votesmart.org or through the toll-free Voter's Research Hotline, 1-888-VOTESMART. About Project Vote Smart: Founded by 40 national leaders such as Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Vote Smart researches the voting records, backgrounds, issue positions, campaign contributions, interest group ratings, and public statements of more than 40,000 candidates and elected officials. This information, as well as ballot measures and voter registration information is available through www.votesmart.org, the Voter's Research Hotline (1-888-VOTE SMART), free publications (U.S. Government Owner's Manual), and the new VoteEasy interactive application. Inaugurated in 1992, Project Vote Smart is non-partisan and nonprofit in mission, and is funded entirely by foundation grants and individual contributions.