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Where Can I Find Information About Political Candidates?

Political candidates often speak at campaign meetings.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2014
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Voting is a major decision, and most people want to find information about political candidates and proposed ballot measures so that they can make an informed choice at the polls. However, it can sometimes be challenging to find reliable, unbiased information about political candidates, as most candidates launch extensive public relations campaigns which are designed to paint themselves in a favorable light. Fortunately, there are some resources you can use to look for voter information.

The most important thing to remember when looking at information about political candidates is that it is crucial to know the source. When you read anything about a candidate or ballot measure, find out who published it and what their agenda might be. By closely evaluating the source of the information you receive, you can make a decision about how reliable and helpful it is. Be aware that many politicians use astroturfing as a method for disseminating information; astroturfing involves the use of a seemingly non-partisan, grassroots organization to promote particular political views, and it can be very deceptive.

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One place to look for voter information is a cause that you support. If the environment is a major issue for you, for example, you might want to turn to voter information published by the World Wildlife Fund or the Sierra Club. If you care about animal rights, organizations like the Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States publish voter guides. If reproductive rights are important, Planned Parenthood might be a good source. Be aware that all of these organizations publish slanted information about candidates and issues, but if you pick a cause or organization that you support, it might be a slant that you happen to agree with. Many of these groups also publish rating guides to political candidates, telling you how they voted on issues which are important to the organization.

If you are seeking more nonpartisan information about political candidates, organizations like Project Vote Smart and the League of Women Voters publish extensive guides to candidates and issues. Project Vote Smart maintains an extensive database on all the candidates with information about their voting records, positions on major issues, and so forth. Many individual nations, provinces, and states also provide nonpartisan voter information on candidates and issues; if you are a registered voter, such information will often be mailed to you in advance of the election.

You can also turn to publications like local newspapers for information about political candidates and upcoming ballot measures, but make sure you know the newspaper's bias before you trust their endorsements and information. Another good source for information is party-oriented political organizations; if you are a registered Republican, for example, the local branch of the Republican party will be happy to provide you with information about political candidates.

You can also try interacting with candidates directly. Many candidates host open houses and other events during the campaign season to give them a chance to interact with voters. You may be able to attend such an event and ask questions or listen to a moderated panel or debate which can provide valuable information about the candidates. In many nations, major debates are televised, allowing you to learn about the candidates from the comfort of your living room.

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Sunny27
Post 5

Comfyshoes-I agree with you. I think that when Obama was elected too many people had this romantic notion that Obama would transcend politics.

People quickly found out how wrong they were and Obama made the mistake of thinking that the American people where going to embrace his progressive politics ideas and that somehow he had a mandate.

But in reality the American people were willing to give him a chance at governing which was a totally different thing than a total embrace of his policies.

I think that political campaign software also helps candidates manage their campaigns. It allows them to see polling data and determine what strategy they will develop in order to get elected. This clearly helped Obama as a result, many political jobs were probably offered to his campaign manager that helped him win.

comfyshoes
Post 4

Sunshine31-In the 2008 election, in which the 2008 election results determined that Obama won the election many people did not seek information regarding Barack Obama.

They seemed to be content in electing him because they wanted to make history and liked the way Obama spoke.

Now that we all know the political information regarding this President most Americans are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

I have to say that his campaign manager, David Plouffe did an excellent job on getting him elected. I think that shielding the public from his background and viewpoints has allowed him to get elected.

I think that if the American people would have had know the truth about Obama; he would have never been elected.

sunshine31
Post 3

Bhutan-Sometimes in these elections, there are amendments that are on the ballot that are so convoluted with legal jargon that most people do not understand the measures.

There is a site called ballotpedia.org that offers information in plain English on what the measures mean.

They have a paragraph that explains the proponents views as well as what the opposing argument is. In addition, it also tells you what groups are funding these measures either for or against.

This really helped me in the last election because some of the amendments were worded in such a way that I did not understand what they meant.

I did not feel comfortable voting for something that I did not understand. I think that there should be an amendment that should require that these amendments be written in plain English so more people can understand.

Bhutan
Post 2

RJohnson- I agree with you. When you are seeking political information regarding a candidate it is best to go to that candidate’s website in order to determine their views and obtain political information.

Sometimes you can watch a political debate forum on television to see which candidate appeals to you more if you are undecided.

Listening to talk radio as well as the television news might give you different points of view on the same candidates. For example, talk radio traditionally has a conservative audience, but you can still pick up information on progressive politics as well.

Although the commentators are conservative they often comment on policies or information that the liberal mainstream media will not comment on and it can help you develop a broader picture of the candidate rather than believing everything you hear on television.

Seeking your political news from a variety of outlets helps you form the best decision regarding your political choice.

rjohnson
Post 1

Don't forget the politicians' own websites. That's sometimes the best place to go to find out where they stand on an issue. I mean, why go to a third party to hear what someone says when you can go straight to the source!

Also, with so many political bloggers out there, there's got to be some that you can find reliably informative....

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