October 29, 2007

Where You Stand

A friend emailed me a link to VoteHelp.org, a site that purports to be non-partisan, and which surveys your views on political, cultural and social issues, as well as how strongly you feel about each issue, and then tells you where you stand relative to the positions taken by the 12 candidates for President in both parties.

It's interesting, and could be somewhat helpful to folks who are not sure which candidates share their positions on certain issues. I say somewhat helpful, because several of the questions don't really reflect the actual policy preferences and differences between candidates.

Example: The survey asks for your level of agreement or disagreement with the statement "I support stem cell research". As it happens (and as you might expect) all 12 of the candidates have taken positions supporting stem cell research. Just as they all might have taken a position against putting puppies into blenders.

The area of disagreement of course is the type of stem cells involved (embryonic versus umbilical or other) , and at that, it is not even the research that is opposed by many Americans, but only the federal funding of the embryonic variety, a practice opposed by many Americans on moral grounds. And I do not know the specific positions of the candidates on that issue, but I am sure of one thing. They are not all the same. But the survey tells me they are all the same. Not helpful.

And on the issue of health care, the statement to agree or disagree with is as follows:

"I believe government should help provide health care for all citizens."

Obviously, it's an issue that is too complicated to give a simple yes or no answer, and the two words that caused me to decide on an answer of 'disagree', were 'help' and 'all'. Because I believe that there are a great many people in this country who neither need nor want the government's help with their health care. Take out the word 'all', and I agree. Take out the word 'help' and I disagree strongly. The result then is naturally less than clarifying.

Bottom line, I was not surprised to find Rudy at the top of my list, and Dennis Kucinich (is he still running?) at the bottom. One measure of the nebulousness of the survey is that it showed me agreeing with Kucinich on five out of the 28 issues. Don't let that get around.

Posted by dan at October 29, 2007 11:32 PM