Last summer, I began work on a project which is only now launching, VoteHelp.org. The idea is that people need a simple interface where they can input their opinions on issues and compare their positions to those of politicians. In this case, we decided to create the site in advance of the 2008 presidential election, but we're hopeful that it'll take off enough that we'll have the resources to create similar versions for local races, where information is even harder to come by.
Check it out at http://www.votehelp.org.
As a psychologist, I'm especially interested in the personality ratings that people ascribe to candidates and how that correlates with issue positions. I'll certainly share some of that data here in the future.
I am just getting back from the Gallup Positive Psychology conference where we talk a lot about measuring happiness and well being rather than GDP to inform policy. In case anyone wonders what some of my posts on happiness have to do with public policy, here is a tidbit I recently came across.
The basic idea is that much policy is informed by the idea of maximizing gross national product (GNP). However, GNP is a crude attempt to measure the greatest good for the greatest number that is obviously flawed. For example, if I break a window in my neighbors house and he pays someone to fix it, GNP is increased, but nobody is really better off. A better measure would be Gross National Happiness...Is such a measurement possible? It's at least something worth trying.
US film maker Karen L. Mintz is in the process of making what looks like a fascinating documentary about the nation of Bhutan: Gross National Happiness, 68 Miles from Thimphu.