Candidate Evaluation Matrix Explanation and Tips for Usage
Do you want really useful information on political candidates, that’s factual and relevant? Most voters would say “yes,” because they cannot depend on:
- Candidate ballot statements and websites
- Special interest endorsements with their known and unknown agendas and bias
- Columbian newspaper telling you who to vote for with its well-known bias
- Who has the most signage
These information sources are obviously flawed (see links at the bottom of this page that expand on just how useless this information is in the aggregate to voters).
To address this universal problem, at a local level, ClarkCounty.info designed and built a political candidate evaluation process and presentation matrix. The key design objectives were to be comprehensive, relevant, and usable. We recognize that any candidate evaluation is subject to the bias of the evaluation team, so we designed a data collection and evaluation process that identified and minimized our team member’s particular biases.
The result is the candidate evaluation matrix, based on 13 criteria organized under the following groups:
- What the candidate believes
- How the candidate will govern
- How electable the candidate is
The only deliberate bias designed into the evaluation process is under the major group called What the Candidate Believes? In this group we assess a candidate’s point of view on (1) the role of government, (2) taxes, and (3) private property rights. Candidates who think government is generally too big and inefficient—and work to correct this problem score the highest in this group of criteria. Keep in mind, ClarkCounty.info exists to promote wise and ethical local government. This can only mean smaller and less bureaucratic local government.
Key points for reviewing and understanding the data.
- Evaluation criteria definitions: The matrix has a two- or three-letter code for the criteria heading. These are further explained in the hover text of the heading label.
- Candidate score detail: The scores applied for each candidate will have some explanation in the hover text if your mouse over the score value. If you want to copy something or follow a hyperlink, just move your mouse into the hover text.
- Candidate inputs: The evaluation depends on existing and generally abundant public information and the knowledge our team has from exposure to candidates, for some over many years. We did not want the evaluation process diluted by the obvious bias of political candidates and their advocates. Notwithstanding this, we told the candidates about this information’s existence, and if a technical matter is inaccurate (like years living in the area), we will update that information.
- Some candidates not scored in the primary: If a candidate was comprehensively weak and running in a campaign with effectively no chance for promotion to the general election — we did not evaluate them.
- Candidate performance score: In the matrix, each candidate has a score that’s a result of the individual scores achieved on the 13 criteria and the criteria weighting.
- Candidate background page on ClarkCounty.info: Each candidate scored has a candidate page on ClarkCounty.info that contains similar information. Click the candidate’s name in the matrix to access this information.
- Prefer liberal candidates? If you like left-of-center candidates, then you can look for lower scores on the ‘What the candidate believes’ section. Other scores for ‘how they will govern’ and ‘How electable are they’ are based on factors and a process that ignores the candidate’s political leanings.
- Helping candidates you like: In the criteria group called ‘Electability’ the evaluation matrix presents objective information on the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses to get through the primary and potentially win in the general election. If you like a candidate you can see where your volunteer, financial or other assistance could strengthen their campaign.
- Protest candidates: This year there are many protest or anti-establishment candidates—mainly on the right. Most of these candidates have typical attributes of being new, underfunded, and open with statements about problems with establishment politicians and special interests. These candidates score lower in our evaluation because the evaluation process includes electability. However, by running for office they are highlighting serious problems at all levels of government. This is why ClarkCounty.info was founded—to address our local version of this global problem.
After a few minutes, users of the political candidate matrix should find the matrix easy to use and useful. Our main objective is to provide readers relevant background information to help voting decisions. Yes, we roll up all the candidate’s scores into a total performance score, but this is advisory. We are not trying to tell our readers how to vote.
It’s a serious time in America, with the continued damage of opportunistic politicians, entrenched bureaucrats, and special interests — so we try to tell it like it is with these political candidates. Please don’t be offended by some harsh criticism of local politicians and candidates. We all live in a culture that encourages many ill-equipped people to run for political office, and some who are corrupt. Imagine you’re running a professional HR department at a company. You’d never accept a substandard candidate, just based on their statements, their appeals to emotion, or what their friends say. Unfortunately, that’s all the voters typically have available to them about candidates. We offer a solution to stop this manipulation by politicians and their special interest friends.
The ClarkCounty.info Political Evaluation Team
Background on the uselessness of most political information provided to voters
- Ballot statements in the County voter’s guide – as these statements are often not aligned with what the candidate really thinks or can deliver.
- Entities endorsing – with their known and unknown agendas and bias.
- Columbian newspaper telling citizens for whom to vote and Columbian political misinformation in general.
- Political signage – the speciousness of ‘name recognition’.