Results of the National Political Awareness Test from 1996-2006 indicate a dramatic nosedive over the last five election cycles in the willingness of candidates of both major parties to say “yes” to that question, and then prove it by answering a few questions on issues known to be of concern to voters in their state. In the 1996-1998 tests, a high of 72 percent of all federal candidates and 38 percent of all state legislative candidates responded “yes” to the question. Since then, the decline has been steady and dramatic. The 2006 statistics are at an all time low of 48 percent and 26 percent for federal and state legislative candidates respectively. Gubernatorial candidate rates for 2006 are at 43%, also an all time low.
This is not a Republican versus Democrat finding. It’s both parties. Read the full announcement and avail yourself of the links to some of the results of their study which can be found near the top of the page. Pay close attention to the incumbents versus newcomer numbers, too.