Earlier this month, we helped to compile a comprehensive report that highlights where candidates stand on many policy issues. The survey was conducted by Commerce In Action. They sent a questionnaire to every legislative primary candidate in Arkansas. Not all candidates responded. In fact, in a few districts, no candidates responded at all. (Candidates from one particular political party were a lot more forthcoming about their views.) But the survey contains a list of every primary candidate nonetheless. If a candidate chose not to answer, this is indicated by a column of question marks.
As The Arkansas Project's Nic Horton noted, "One thing that I particularly like about this questionnaire is that, for the most part, it asks candidates about real, specific proposals that have already come through the legislature in bill form (and cites the particular bills by name, so voters can read the bills themselves). Unfortunately, many questionnaires often ask unrealistic or wildly hypothetical questions (for example, “Do you support cutting state government by 90%?”) That certainly might be a noble goal, and the candidate’s answer might tell us something valuable about their principles — but it also might not. If candidates are asked unrealistic questions, they have an incentive to provide unrealistic answers — because the likelihood that they’ll actually have to face a vote on that particular question is very small."
Our survey's questions are likely to come before the legislature when or if these candidates become lawmakers. Because of this, voters should have a much better idea how these candidates might vote when they’re faced with similar proposals.
Hats off to Conduit In Action for a great survey, and thanks to all the candidates who took the time to fill it out.