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

The Launch of the Political Courage Test

2007 October 03 - MikeW

For a decade now, Project Vote Smart has been testing the willingness of candidates to tell citizens their stance on issues that they will likely face on their behalf, through the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT). The NPAT was designed as a ten-year study, and with the 2006 elections, Project Vote Smart analyzed the final results of the study.

Project Vote Smart learned from the NPAT that candidates are increasingly unwilling to tell voters where they stand on these issues. We also learned that campaign advisors and political parties are blatantly telling their candidates not to respond to the NPAT, because it will "pin them in a corner." Finally, we learned that it takes an immense ammount of courage for candidates to buck their advisors and their party, in favor of giving voters the information that is necessary to make an educated decision when they enter the voting booth.

While the ten-year study known as the NPAT may be over, the lessons of the test will continue in the form of the "Political Courage Test." Although it's been proven that candidates are increasingly unwilling to give this information to voters, we will continue to test them, because it helps voters to have a clearer picture of those people who are campaigning for their votes.

The presidential candiates of 2008 will be the first group of candidates to take the Political Courage Test. The test was sent to all 200+ candidates who have filed with the Federal Election Commission. They will have until ...

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