Hot TopicsOdd

Campaign Survey Includes Curious Obama Constituency Question

I received an email from the Obama campaign reminding me that I hadn’t filled out a survey they’d sent. Frankly, I don’t recall having seen a survey, but there’s a good chance I’d have ignored it if I had seen it.

So the thought that a survey sent to me from the campaign went unanswered was hardly a surprise. (Oddly enough, I wasn’t directly involved in either the 2008 or 2012 campaign in any manner, so I don’t know why they’d send me a participation survey.)

When I clicked the link to open it, I landed on an official-looking survey. It wanted me to supply my email address, first and last name, birth date (including year) and zip code. That information in itself would be enough for me to likely decline to participate: they don’t need my full name and birthdate. They already have my email address. But I kept reading. and came to this question:

Which constituency groups do you identity yourself with? Select all that apply.

So I started scanning the list. The first option was “African American.” This would lead me to believe that “Caucasian” — or even just “white” — would be on the list somewhere. It wasn’t. Do they think no white people supported Obama? (I have news for them on that one…whites did vote for Obama. Both times.

As I read the list, the only “constituency group” with which I identify in the entire list was “People of Faith.”

Here’s the complete list:

  • African Americans
  • Americans Abroad
  • Arab-Americans
  • Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  • Educators
  • Environmentalists
  • Healthcare Professionals
  • Jewish Americans
  • Labor
  • Latinos
  • LGBT
  • Native Americans
  • People of Faith
  • People with disabilities
  • Rural Americans
  • Seniors
  • Small business owners
  • Students
  • Veterans/military families
  • Women
  • Young professionals
  • Youth

Might there not be other groups who show support to the president? Shouldn’t we want to list more groups? Shouldn’t we want to include as many groups as we can? How about those “Caucasians”? How about “Middle class”? <Labor, to some, means labor unions.)

I’m sure, given time, I could come up with a few more groups of which I might consider myself a member, but were not represented.

There’s a distinct possibility that this survey was some sort of phishing scheme and had no connection to the Obama campaign. It certainly looks legitimate, and I’m pretty good at spotting fakes.

If it is legit, I think they might want to reconsider their questions.


  1. I received the same email and was directed to the same survey.  I think the list you are referring to is what they like to call “special interest groups”.  It isn’t intended to exclude you for any of your attributes but to identify which particular groups you are a member of, if any. 
    Further questions in the survey asked about participation in the campaign so I imagine they wanted to know which groups had members who participated  – and how – for statistical purposes.
    Perhaps they are also going to be looking for feedback – or anticipate possibly asking for feedback – from those groups and they wanted to identify people who are members for that reason as well.

    1. Cathryn (aka Strange) I agree that many of the groups listed are “special interest.” But if they’re going to classify “African American” and a variety of racial groups as “special interest,” it’s only reasonable to classify Caucasians the same way.
      Personally, I have a problem with the notion of racial groups being considered “special interest groups” because I think at this point we ought to be moving forward with policies and laws that are fair to all race groups, not just a few; otherwise, we’re still practicing discrimination.

      1. patricksplace Cathryn (aka Strange) I share your wish that we could just treat people as, well, people and get over their race, gender, sexual preference, etc, but sadly we aren’t there yet.  
        More women will serve in the next US Congress than have ever done so – but they will still make up only 19% of Congress.  That’s just one example that shows we are not there yet.  I’ve no doubt we will get there, eventually, but we still have work to do – for women, people of color, and LGBT individuals, just to name a few.  
        And yes.  We’ve changed for the better over the years.  Who would have thought in the 1960s that we would have an African American President of the US 40-some years later?  But, at the same time, we have a disproportional number of African Americans in our prison system so something is still broken.  
        Now what I want to know is when the first openly gay or lesbian or even the first transsexual individual will be elected President! 🙂

      2. patricksplace Cathryn (aka Strange) Wow.  My comment seems to have disappeared – or maybe it didn’t post and I didn’t notice before closing the tab.  I’ll try to recreate it…
        I agree that it would be wonderful if we could all treat other people as, well… people – regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc!  Sadly, we aren’t there yet.
        It’s terrific that we have an African American man in the White House.  At the same time, however, we have a disproportional number of African American men in our prison system.  Something is still broken.
        The next Congress will have more female senators and congresspeople than we’ve ever had–  but they will still only make up 19% of that body.  We just aren’t there yet.
        How many openly gay or lesbian people serve in the US Congress? I only know of one who will be serving in 2013 and she’s the first open lesbian to be elected to Congress.  Statistics suggest that up to 25% of the US population is gay, lesbian or bisexual so they aren’t going to be well represented any time soon. 
        While I see a lot of signs that we are moving in the right direction, I still know that we aren’t where we need to be and that more work needs to be done.  
        What I want to know is when we’ll see the first transgender individual elected to Congress! 🙂 Then I’ll know that we are really getting somewhere!

        1. Cathryn (aka Strange) I got the email notifications for both comments, and it was here when I dropped back by, but Livefyre had some issues yesterday for about an hour, so perhaps it was related to that.

        2. Cathryn (aka Strange) I have some very mixed feelings about some of your points here.
          First, in response to the number of female senators and congresspeople, when will be truly be “there”? When the percentage precisely mirrors that of the population at large? If so, doesn’t that mean we’re striving for a point of “equality” that then requires that we only nominate by gender (or race or whatever else)? This is to say, once we eventually reach a point that qualifies as equality, what do we do to maintain it?
          Second, is being “openly gay or lesbian” essentially better than being just gay or lesbian? Are people who choose not to make a public point of expressing their orientation not as good? Are they somehow less concerned about the needs of their constituency? 
          As a voter, I don’t care what color one’s skin is or what gender they are. I didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 because I was trying to help America get its first black president. That didn’t enter into my decision-making in any way. I voted based on the platform and what he said he’d do. I’d like to think most people voted that way, but I also am smart enough to know that many made race the PRIMARY reason to vote for him.
          Likewise, I don’t care about the orientation of a candidate. There are plenty of heterosexuals, lest anyone doubt, that don’t wish to see homosexuals discriminated against because of their orientation.
          I’ve voted for whites and blacks, men and women, heterosexual and homosexual (at least, I have a couple of suspicions I won’t name on that last one). I’ve never once voted for a candidate BECAUSE of gender, race or orientation. I hope that if I ever do, someone will come along and take my voter registration away, because I will have started abusing the system.
          If the candidate that agrees with my views isn’t the one that gets my vote AND if the fact that they DO agree with views — whomever they are — isn’t the PRIMARY reason I’m voting for them, I have no business casting a ballot.

        3. patricksplace Cathryn (aka Strange) I don’t expect our representatives to mirror the make up of our nation as far as race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.  I simply think that our Congress should be closer to matching the makeup of our population.  There should be more Hispanic individuals, more women and more diversity overall, in my opinion.
          I do think you misunderstand me.  I’m not suggesting that we should vote for an individual because they are a certain race or gender or for any reason other than that we feel they best represent our own views.  I’m saying that the race, gender or orientation of an individual should not matter to us.  For example, I know people who loudly declare that they did not vote for Barack Obama because he is black.  In my own perfect world, most people wouldn’t really have taken his race into account when they cast their ballots but I know this isn’t the case. 
          I’ve nothing against the members of Congress who are white males, by the way.  I simply feel that I, personally, would feel better represented if there were more women there.  A man doesn’t know what it is like to live as a woman just like a white male doesn’t know how it feels to be a Hispanic male.  More diversity would help add voices to our government that we sorely need.  
          What I mean, by the way, about an “openly” gay or lesbian person running for office is that a person should not have to feel like they have to hide that from the population to get elected.  If asked, they should feel free to say, “yes.  I am gay.” and not have this be a factor.

        4. Cathryn (aka Strange) Just so I’m clear, I know people who refused to vote for Obama because he’s black as well. And I know of a few people who said they’d never vote for Hilary because she’s a woman.
          I agree that race, gender, orientation, religous beliefs and any of the other various things that divide should not matter. But at the same time, celebrating someone’s election BECAUSE of those differences seems to go against the goal of making sure those things DON’T matter. That’s where I have a hard time reconciling the issue.
          I’m not trying to accuse you of doing anything wrong: I understand where you’re coming from. For me, I don’t see Obama’s race as an issue; I didn’t find his race a hindrance in voting for him nor did I find it worth celebrating. I recognize the historic nature of having a black president, but I certainly wouldn’t celebrate if the next president were a white male again. I just place no importance on either. I hope that makes sense.

        5. patricksplace Cathryn (aka Strange) Okay.  I see what you mean and that makes sense.  
          I guess I just like to acknowledge that the fact that a black man is able to be elected President (for example) means that we might be closer to treating each other as fellow human beings instead of concentrating on our differences and I think that is a reason to celebrate.

Leave a Response

We'd love to hear from you, but remember all comments must be respectful. We reserve the right to remove comments that do not follow our comment guidelines. Click here to review our comment policy.

Your name, as provided, will display on the website with any comment you leave. Your email address and your browser’s IP address does not display publicly and we do not share or sell your email address or IP address to anyone.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.