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More PA Candidates Refuse to Take Stands on Issues

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Great Divide Ranch, MT-Project Vote Smart released the 2006 Pennsylvania National Political Awareness Test (NPAT) results today showing that 71 percent of the state's candidates refused to answer questions on the issues that are of top concern to Pennsylvania voters, such as education, budget and spending priorities, casino taxes, security, and international issues. Pennsylvania results show that only 44 percent of congressional candidates, 50 percent of gubernatorial candidates, and 27 percent of state legislative candidates were willing to inform voters through the NPAT. Both Senatorial candidate Casey and Senator Santorum refused to provide responses.

Richard Kimball, Project Vote Smart President, said that national response rates for federal and state candidates have fallen dramatically over the last three elections. This trend is evident in Pennsylvania, where congressional candidate responses have substantially declined from a high of 72 percent in the last election.

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The National Political Awareness Test asks all candidates one central question: "Are you willing to tell citizens your positions on the issues you will most likely face on their behalf?" It is conducted nationally over the last 12 months of each election season. Pennsylvania congressional, gubernatorial and state legislative candidates were contacted repeatedly over five weeks and asked by prominent leaders of both major parties, by Pennsylvania news organizations, and by Project staff, if they were willing to provide their issue inclinations in the public interest.

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Since 2000, Project Vote Smart has found that party leaders and consultants from both major parties are advising candidates not to respond to the NPAT for two primary reasons: it will limit the candidates' ability to control their campaign messages, and it will expose them to opposition research.

These NPAT results indicate that most candidates who wish to represent the citizens of Pennsylvania in key leadership roles are not willing to help citizens cast informed votes. Their refusal to answer balanced, fair-minded questions on key issues strips citizens of the information most crucial in a democracy.

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George McGovern

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Barry Goldwater
U.S. Senator
Geraldine Ferraro

Fmr U.S.

Representative
John McCain
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Michael Dukakis

Former Governor
Bill Frist
U.S. Senator
Bill Frenzel
Fmr U.S. Representative
Peggy Lampl

Fmr Executive Director,

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League of Women Voters
Jim Leach
U.S. Representative
John Sununu
U.S. Senator
Charles Mathias
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Edward Brooke
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Barbara Lee
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Claudine Schneider
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Kenneth Adelman
Dir., US Arms Ctrl &
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Jon Trachta
Attorney
Marvin Cohen
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Aeronautical Board,
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William Lacy Clay, Jr.

U.S. Representative
Irene Natividad
Fmr Pres., National
Women's Political Caucus
Pat Schroeder
Fmr U.S. Representative
Gordon H. Smith
U.S. Senator
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Attorney
Adelaide Elm
Historian
William Clinger
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Dan O'Neill
Attorney
William Proxmire
Fmr U.S. Senator
John Hagelin

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