Quaker Friends and Readers Voting Poll

I am putting together an article for The Friend reflecting on the presidential election for our British brothers and sisters. The point of the article is to reflect on the election from my standpoint as a Quaker, Evangelical and American. To that end I am interested in how other American Quakers (from all our groups) voted and am conducting a very informal poll on three questions: what Quaker group do you associate with, who you voted for, and what are four main issues that are important to you (see below for embedded form).

I would really appreciate all your involvement, but only Quakers please! Your names are not required, and will be kept completely confidential if you do post them. I will use the polling results for my article (and later post them here) to get a very crude estimate of where Quakers are at on the vote. The poll will end on the morning of has been extended to Monday evening November 10th. Thanks for helping out!

EDIT:
The poll has ended. Thank you to all who took the time and filled out the survey! We had 179 people respond. Watch the frontpage of gatheringinlight.com because I’ll be posting the data later this week.

EDIT #2:

The polling data is complete and has been posted here. Please pass it around to people who you know took the survey.

Published by

Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

41 thoughts on “Quaker Friends and Readers Voting Poll”

  1. Challenging to choose actual issues why I voted. How about the quality of his mind, the maturity of his character, and the excitement of his vision, and general agreement on the direction he plans to go in.
    Enjoy,
    Walter

  2. I think my major issue was the world view in which the US works as partners WITH other nations and listens to other views.

    1. Totally. I got a lot of that first hand in my last two trips over to the UK. People really wanted to know why Americans have been so hard to work with, etc. I hope this image will change some.

  3. I wanted to choose: 1) constitutional rights (limits to executive power — secret lists, illegal detention, FISA, Guantanimo, going to war without declaration, “Patriot Act”); 2) nuclear nonproliferation; and 3) US “state terrorism” (torture, extraordinary rendition, crossing borders and killing civilians — Syria, Pakistan, etc.), but could not find these among the choices.

  4. Interesting. I have to say I didn’t see the issue at the top of my own agenda, which is how as a society we take care of our least fortunate: the working and unemployed poor, the mentally ill, the disabled. There are points that touch on this, such as economy and health care, but they don’t quite express it. Economic justice, perhaps.

  5. Walter and Tom speak my mind. I would add that, while I didn’t vote for Obama for his race, I do value his ability to bring people of different races together, which I think comes out of his life experience.

    Thanks for doing this.

  6. Tom came the closest, but I would apply the idea to issues within the US also: the idea that we CAN sit down and work out problems in good faith.

  7. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I was thinking of poverty being related to economics but my wife tells me (now) that it should be a separate category. I knew I left stuff out mainly because I just couldn’t think of all of them, so I hope you wrote in the “other” field. But I agree for me the justice issue is really big and the one Eileen brings up as well, bringing people together is key as well. One point my wife said was “trust” who do you feel you can trust more, definitely something I should have added to the list.

    I wanted to just get a basic mapping for this article so didn’t make it as in depth as it should probably be but your feedback in the comments helps with making it more broad so please keep posting ideas.

    And thanks for filling it out.

  8. I too found it tough, and interesting, to select reasons for my vote from your list — difficult to select only four and try to weigh which four were the most important. Education easily came to the top for me, not specifically because of his stance on education (though that follows), but rather because of his own educational background… particularly contrasted with that of his opponent.

  9. This is really fun! I’d love to see the results, particularly the reasons for voting for Obama. Life feels very much lighter today. An ocean of darkness has become an ocean of light.

  10. I too share in valuing character and life choices, intelligence combined with experience living in other cultures as a young person, and strong commitment to fairness.

  11. The real “Why” of why vote for Obama is because there was no viable candidate who was more progressive. If Kucinich had a prayer, I’d love to see him in the White House. Obama is a moderate and a player. His record on the environment is absolutely not cutting edge or anything like adequate to address the trouble we’re in. He is open to nuclear, ‘clean’ coal (oxymoron), biofuels (boondoggle), and has not evidenced a greater inclination towards international cooperation than Clinton. He opposes gay marriage, wants to move the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, supported the recent FISA bill that allows corporations who did electronic spying for Homeland Security off the hook, etc. This election affords us an opportunity to really mobilize our forces and maybe get some real change in, but there is no call to be complacent or rest on any laurels. When the people lead, the leaders will follow, and Obama is no exception.

  12. Good idea, and I hope you get some good surprises in your results. I’ll look forward to seeing your report.

    Small but hopefully constructive criticisms: I could wish you hadn’t lumped energy with environment, since they are actually different issues. “Drill baby drill” is energy but not environment; saving species is environment but not energy. It might be important not to lump these together as a single constituency.

    I could also wish you hadn’t identified Conservative Friends with the Wilburite tradition, since Conservatives are actually a amalgamation of Wilburite and conservative-Gurneyite strands. Ah, well.

  13. Wess,
    I have heard alot about you and enjoy checking out your blog from time to time. This survey is a great idea; I am sure you will gather lots of interesting data. One slight bone I would pick with your designation of type in terms of “Friends’ Associations”: as for myself, I would say that I am solidly located within the FUM tradition. On the other hand, I do not feel that “Evangelical Gurneyite” accurately describes me. That having been said, it is an understandable gap, considering the near impossibility of providing a nuanced description of every possible kind of Quaker. Anyway, I look forward to the reading the article.

  14. Thank you for doing the poll. I believe it may show some surprising results. Please also release the results to American Friends. I think we all need to be reminded about political tolerance within our own meetings and churches.

  15. It was hard to choose between party affiliation and character for the 4th reason I voted for Obama (after war, economy and environment). I almost always vote Democratic so would have VOTED that way no matter who the candidate but Obama’s character caused me to ALSO get involved in his campaign and canvass hard for him!
    Jane Stowe

  16. I had the most trouble with the question asking me to identify what my Quaker “association” is. I seriously doubt that there are really very many true “Hicksite” or “Wilburite” or “Gurneyite” Friends any more.

    I suppose people would call my meeting a liberal meeting,but I am a Christ-centered, Bible-reading, silent meeting, kind of Quaker and several others here are as well. My Yearly Meeting is a part of both FUM and FGC. I finally put “other”.

    I also wondered about the “convergent” question, and finally answered “no”. I like the idea that lots of Friends coming from different places “converging”, and I think it’s true that many are doing so; but I deeply resist the notion that “convergent” is a new kind of Friend. And if it is, I don’t want to be that kind. As soon as the Friends who are converging become “convergent Friends” then I’m afraid they are no longer converging with other Friends – just diverging into a new group.

  17. Hi All thanks for the comments.

    Ben, pleased to make the acquaintance here. And you’ve got it spot on when you said, “considering the near impossibility of providing a nuanced description of every possible kind of Quaker.”

    I knew I wouldn’t make everyone happy or cover all the nuances but that wasn’t really the point of this, it was more to just get a very basic reading of where we are all at politically.

    So please, everyone, feel free to utilize the “other” if you feel your group, issue, etc is missing. That’s the best way for me because there’s no way I can, at this point, cover everything.

    I will definitely release the stats once I compile them, I need to figure out the best way to present the data. I’d like to do something with some graphs and have percentages of topic issues, etc. Not a strong suite of mine so I’ll be tinkering around with it over the next few days.

    My article to the Friend is due on Monday, after that I’ll get something on my blog here later in the week.

    I’m glad so many of you had fun doing this and since there has been such great response (120 people so far have done the poll) maybe we’ll just have to make more polls! 😉

    Lastly, as an aside, I found Tuesday to be such a well-spring of emotions: excitement, anticipation, wonder, frustration, joy. And my list could go on. But I’ll say for me personally, as a young(ish) person, “what an exciting time to be an American.”

  18. I was also concerned about civil liberties issues such as government secrecy, respect for the Constitution, inclusiveness, and civility in public life and discourse.

  19. Hey Wess,

    Am I the first one to ask what is “Post-Christian”? If so, I’m awaiting the public humiliation that comes with my innocence ;-).

  20. Yes I voted. Though I don’t put Faith in politics and leadership. I put Faith in how the Spirit works in each of us. So I do pray for compasionate strong leadership, and leaders that Represent, and speak up for the poor and disadvantaged.

    I hope others can pray with me, and as a Society of Friends find ways to live that are true to our Faith.
    love DL

  21. I always have trouble fitting into discrete boxes … but I understand thy need to offer categories (rather than presenting an essay question) to do a survey. In fact my main reason for voting the way I did was a hope to check the fear-based, polarizing, fragmenting tactics and goals of the past eight years.

    And a quibble: I may belong to a liberal yearly meeting, but I can hardly characterize myself as Hicksite! My personal faith is a lot more Wilburite, and there’s a strong strand of that throughout Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. If I were living elsewhere, no doubt my affiliation would be different.

    1. Fair enough. I added those classifications in brackets in hopes of getting rid of confusion, I thought they would be helpful, but it doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. Most everyone found a box to tick so I think the poll will still be beneficial and close to accurate in terms of representing the major groups. My thought was by doing it more rooted in traditions I could cover more people with fewer (than 20-30?) categories, but if I were to do it again I would have done something more yearly meeting based.

  22. Concerning “nuanced categories”

    From the point of view of Friends in the eastcoast North American YM’s (NEYM, NYYM, PhYM, BYM, and CYM and Britain) equating “Liberal Friends” and “(Hicksite)” seems odd. A portion of the eastcoast MM’s are historically “Orthodox” from the nineteenth century and a portion are “Hicksite.” My MM (Germantown) split in the nineteenth century, keeping its Orthodox members, and a MM essentially across the street (Green St MM) absorbed its Hicksite members. Friend Anthony (above, here) is a member of a Meeting (Chestnut Hill MM) founded in the early twentieth century partly in an effort to allow the HIckites and Orthodox G’towners to join together in the same MM. (The history is a bit more complicated than described here.)

    Anyway, it might be simpler to identify a broad category as “Liberal Friends” or “Unprogrammed Friends” and for now leave the nineteenth century terms “Hicksite” and “Orthodox” alone.

    1. Hi Dave, thanks for checking back. I’m hoping that late tomorrow or Thursday I’ll have things up. I have all the information in a spreadsheet but I’m trying to boil it down into easily digestible nuggets of information, as well as some cool graphs. Both of those two things would be much easier if I actually knew how to use Excel to its fullest potential. Thus we’re stuck with me working in slow-motion.

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