Candidates Less Willing to Share Positions


I had lunch a couple of weeks ago with Richard Kimball, the founder and president of Project Vote Smart, the nation's premier information resource about candidates for public office at all levels. If you haven't checked out your lawmakers (whether Congressional, Gubernatorial or state legislative) on their site, you're missing information you need to know before you vote.

Richard related to me a very distressing fact. That in this age of transparency, candidates are less willing to tell the people where they stand on issues.

Vote Smart has conducted a National Political Awareness test since 1996. This test asks one core question of politicians: "Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face on their behalf?"

Shockingly, there has been a precipitous drop off in candidates who are willing to answer yes to that question. In 1996, 72 percent of the Congressional candidates responded to the survey saying "yes." In 2006 only 43 percent have done so. The results are similar for Gubernatorial candidates (though the drop is steeper going from 77 percent to just 48 percent); and less steep but disturbingly low for state legislative candidates (from 36 percent to 26 percent responding positively.)

To see if your lawmaker responded, check here.