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Survey: "Presidential Courage" in Short Supply

November 16, 2007

Seattle, WA – Washington voters will have to dig a little deeper to find the answers they need before voting for the next U.S. President. The nonpartisan election watchdog group Project Vote Smart has released its latest "Presidential Political Courage Test." It's a survey given to all 202 Presidential candidates about where they stand on key issues, but only 40 percent of them answered it. Mike Wessler of Project Vote Smart says in a decade of these surveys, fewer candidates participate every year. They claim they don't want their opponents to use their answers against them.

"While I do understand those concerns, I think that those concerns are minor compared to the importance of getting voters information about where candidates stand on these issues."

Wessler says an interesting correlation also emerged in the survey results.

"We found that generally, the campaigns that have the ability to raise the most money are the least willing to put this information out."

With or without the candidates' completed surveys, Project Vote Smart excerpts speeches, campaign materials, and voting records to piece together and publish information about where politicians stand on healthcare, immigration, abortion, and more. The results of the new "Presidential Political Courage Test" can be found online at www.votesmart.org. This year, the "no response" group includes Clinton, Giuliani, Obama and Romney.

Chris Thomas/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WA