TLP: Census Marketing Goes Into March Madne$$ Overtime
There was a letter. Then a form. Followed by a postcard. If none of that was sufficient to notify or remind or encourage Americans to fill out their Census forms, more marketing is on the way.
(You know, besides this conservative push.)
The WSJ's Washington Wire takes us to the foul line:
With basketball aficionados tuning in this weekend to the NCAA March Madness, the government is hoping the college hoops tournament will help bring in supporters for another event — the 2010 Census.
This weekend, more Census-related television ads and promotional fanfare are expected to accompany the NCAA Final Four and Championship games as a part of a $340 million campaign to boost participation rates. This weekend’s message: There is still time to return your Census form.
“I think the big message is that Census Day has come and gone, but that is not a deadline,” said Samantha O’Neil a Census Bureau spokeswoman.
Census Director Robert Groves has given folks until mid-April to turn in forms. Census takers are expected to go door-to-door through neighborhoods across the nation to find uncounted people and add them to the tally on May 1.
So that's what this $340 million jump ball is all about: how many tallywhackers the Census Bureau needs to hire to figure out whether people were lazy, defiant or apathetic about their forms. And whether the media outreach brings better results than stalking.
One door the Census won't have knock on is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The White House said President Obama has returned his form, before the start of the Final Four, and that he did not skip the race question.
A White House spokesman confirmed that Mr. Obama, the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, checked African-American on the 2010 census questionnaire.The NYT says this means Obama identifies himself as black. But a black father from Africa and a white mother from America literally makes Obama an African-American, not necessarily black nor, um, Negro.
The president, who was born in Hawaii and raised there and in Indonesia, had more than a dozen options in responding to Question 9, about race. He chose “Black, African Am., or Negro.” (The anachronistic “Negro” was retained on the 2010 form because the Census Bureau believes that some older blacks still refer to themselves that way.)
Mr. Obama could have checked white, checked both black and white, or checked the last category on the form, “some other race,” which he would then have been asked to identify in writing.
Of course, trying to be literal about things doesn't always work. Especially when it comes to matters where people are so laid-back and easy-going. You know, like race and politics.