Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance

Why would we want to ask a candidate a question? Don’t we want to know what he want to know what he will do if he is elected?

Do all candidates answer our questions honestly? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Nevertheless, candidates generally answer more truthfully than not. Why? Their answers indicate which voters they want to vote for them. If politician too much alienates the people who support him, that makes it much easy to remove him from office. Therefore, it is worth the trouble to ask politicians questions and to hold them accountable for their answers.

What follows are the questions we included our first candidate questionnaire for the 2021 Election season. When we send our questionnaire to a candidate, we give that candidate three options for each each question. Would they support (S), oppose (O), or are undecided (U) about legislation that would:

  1. Restore the death penalty…

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  1. Just a suggestion, Tom… I’m not sure if your question efforts are designed to be somewhat impartial because most tend to be leading or obviously biased. Perhaps that’s your intent for the organization you represent, then I might understand. Also… do these questions match up with the particular candidate’s elected position responsibilities? I suppose I ask that rather rhetorically. That’s quite a collection of questions that not all elected jobs may have influence over, which then might suggest a judgement of a candidate is based on some personal moral attributes not necessarily part of the job responsibility.
    I make the observation because my past business used to be in data collection, entry, and processing and survey designs.
    That’s good you would encourage longer answers as you are correct.. many of these are not yes-no-maybe only answers.

    1. @Doug

      The Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance (PWMFA) I’d an issues based organizations. With respect to those issues we are biased. Nevertheless, the questions are just designed to find out where the candidates stand. The PWMFA does not endorse candidates.

      Which questions do you think leading or obviously biased? Why? I will pass your thoughts onto the guy who wrote the questions.

      1. I can understand the organizational bias to a cause. Well, it’s been my experience that if you want questions answered from a survey you make the questions themselves structured in a way that encourages a response. Obviously that all depends on your respondents’ interest. Given your interest I am guessing your survey is a limited distribution.. like just a couple or a few based entirely on those running for public office. So we are not talking about hundreds or thousands of respondents and and needing consideration for data entry efficiency… like yes/no answers in a broad context. Therefore, as you indicted in the post, a candidate being able to explain his answer in comment form would be a rich source to determine a candidate’s position. Given all that… here’s a couple thoughts…

        1. “Restore the death penalty repealed this spring.” That rather suggests your organization’s bias for restoring the death penalty. A candidate might read the question and surmise “These people are looking to present their agenda and have their minds made up.”, and a candidate might simply get turned off.

        I might suggest… “This last Spring the death penalty was repealed. What are your views to either maintain the repeal or reinstate the death penalty?”

        29. “Forbid the construction of power plants using fossil fuels.” Much like using the word “Require” using “Forbid” suggests the person asking the question has their mind made up.

        I might suggest… “Concern for the environment and climate change is a universal concern in general… but the solutions vary as does the degree of the problem itself. What are your views regarding constructing new power generation plants using either nuclear or fossil fuels… or the practicality of alternative power sources to meet the current and future power demands?”

        You will note that the single answer choice.. agree, disagree, no opinion has been removed. This requires the reader of the final survey results must read the candidate’s response and not simply scan down the list to judge the candidate on the single choices. The reader becomes more informed of the candidate from their nuanced response, grammar, perceived knowledge, etc.

        1. @Doug

          I will pass your comments onto the fellow who wrote the questions. However, I think the “bias” you are complaining about isn’t something you are willing to admit.

          The questions were structured with two objectives.
          1. Keeping the questions short. To limit our printing costs, when we print voter guides and distribute them to churches, we only use the questions that display the differences between the candidates.
          2. Eliciting a simple yes or no answer.

          Admittedly, some have a preference for the fuzzy and nuanced. Instead of directly addressing an issue, they would rather talk about how much they care. Politics, however, tends to produce concrete outcomes. Murderers get executed or they don’t. Politician expedite the construction of power plants or they shut down power plants. Our leaders secure our borders, or people just walk across. Parents choose what their children learn, or politicians decide what children learn. Our government protects our right to bear arms, or the police take our guns. And so forth.

          Why are political outcomes so black and white? We struggle between two extremes, freedom and tyranny. If political outcomes seem fuzzy and nuanced, that is because outcome of the contest is still undecided, not because the contestants have not taken sides.

          Those that side with tyranny, however, often fail to fully realize what they are doing. To avoid the truth, they engage in willful ignorance. Therefore, when confronted with simple yes or no questions, they object.

          Look at the differences between the Trump and the Biden administration. Yes or no questions work just fine. The differences are that stark.

          1. What bias am I complaining about? I wasn’t responding politically in any or this. You indicted that your organization is actively biased as a cause. That’s valid. It’s just like a police union favors police.. a bias by design and purpose. Budgetary constraints is always a consideration, although one should have a goal in mind in what they hope a survey might reveal. But regarding the yes/no… you know just as well as I that political issues/policies seldom work in yes/no environments as issues are always resulting in varieties of human responses. But hey.. I was just making a suggestion to maybe solicit a greater number of respondents.

          2. @Doug

            The Prince William-Manassas Family Alliance is biased towards the traditional Christian family. We believe the Bible.

            But regarding the yes/no… you know just as well as I that political issues/policies seldom work in yes/no environments as issues are always resulting in varieties of human responses. But hey.. I was just making a suggestion to maybe solicit a greater number of respondents.

            Politicians that straddle the fence are useless. Those questions reflect the nature of legislation that comes before the Virginia General Assembly. If a politician is unwilling to vote for or against, he must abstain. A politician that abstains from voting represents no one.

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