It is not news that every ten years, the Census Bureau has a difficult time getting an accurate count of African American and Hispanic citizens. But this year, a new group is proving troublesome: angry, small-government-supporting conservatives.
According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Republicans in Texas are very concerned about this trend. The state has been growing, even while population contraction has been the order of the day in many northern states. The northern areas may lose seats in Congress, and the Electoral College seats that go with them.
Estimates have Texas gaining four seats. But lower-than-expected census questionnaire returns rates may be putting that total in jeopardy.
Members of the anti-government Tea Party movement are thought to be withholding cooperation as a form of protest, and they have been egged on by some members of the Republican Party, including Texas’s own Ron Paul (R-TX) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN).
Minnesota stands to lose a seat, and Bachmann would like to prevent that, but is now seeking to make sure that only legal US citizens are counted. She said on at least one occasion that California may pick up seven or eight seats otherwise. (Estimates we’ve seen have California remaining where it is.)
However, according to Pew research, Democrats are more likely to see the value in returning the form than are Republicans. Further, the Chronicle reports the early return rate for Texas at 27%, below the national average of 34%. And the more conservative districts are said to be running even lower.
RBR-TVBR observation: Conservatives in Congress have been critical of efforts to publicize the Census drive. Will this inspire them to try to drum up some cash to use the media to soothe their more anti-Washington constituents into returning their questionnaires to make sure they get their fair share of representatives? Stay tuned.