Political Courage Test
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It is part of the voter education organization Project Vote Smart's candidate information program. With a view towards elections, the test seeks to obtain answers from election candidates, describing their respective stances on a variety of popular issues in American politics. This information is then made available to voters in a selection-driven, standardized format.
According to the Project Vote Smart website, "It asks candidates one central question: 'Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face on their behalf?'"
The response to the Political Courage Test has dropped, from 72% in 1996 to 48% in 2008, because politicians from both parties are afraid that challengers will use their responses out of context in attack ads, according to The Wall Street Journal. Rep. Anne Gannon, Democratic leader pro tempore of the Florida House of Representatives, stated: "We tell our candidates not to do it. It sets them up for a hit piece." In response, Project Vote Smart has tried to shame politicians into it, and lets them leave up to 30% of answers blank.
Despite the fact that 2008 presidential candidate John McCain took the 2004 test and requested other politicians to take 2006 test, he refused to take the 2008 test. Other presidential candidates, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Ron Paul, also refused to take the 2008 test.
- Grant, Peter (2006-10-25). "Politicians Grow Wary Of Survey as Internet Spreads Attack Ads". Wall Street Journal.
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