Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Republicans, worried about undercounts in conservative areas, urge census participation

"Some Republicans are worried that an anti-government surge among conservatives will lead to lower participation in the U.S. census, which they fear could reduce the number of Republican seats in Congress and state legislatures," Naftali Bendavid reports for The Wall Street Journal.

"Conservative activists this year have argued it is unconstitutional for the census to ask anything beyond the number of people in a household. This year's census form also seeks information on race, gender and age, among other things, and filling it out is required by law. The census has asked similar questions for decades," Bendavid writes. "In a counter move, Rep. Patrick McHenry (N.C.), the top Republican on the House subcommittee that oversees the census, posted a message last week on Redstate.com, a popular conservative Web site, pleading with conservatives to fill out their forms."

McHenry had reason to act. "Some of the most conservative states have among the lowest response rates so far," Bendaviod reports. "About 48 percent of households in Texas and 53 percent in Alabama have mailed in their forms so far, for example, while the response rate in Massachusetts, a more-liberal state, is at about 57 percent. The national participation rate for the 2010 census is at about 56 percent." (Read more)

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