About the Focus© Middle Tennessee Candidate Survey

Goal: To offer our LGBT+ readers and allies a look into the attitude towards, and commitment to, LGBT+ equality among candidates for state and federal offices.

Methodology: A list of candidates who will appear on the August 2, 2018 primary ballots was taken from ballotpedia.org.

Focus staff formulated a list of questions that were relevant to current concerns in the LGBT+ community. Explanatory text about the survey itself accompanied the questions. Both were uploaded to the internet using the surveymonkey.com interface. The list of candidate emails that were available were then uploaded to surveymonkey.com. The first invitation to participate in the survey was sent to candidates on June 11, 2018.

When an email was found to be incorrect or missing, every attempt was made to contact the candidate in question to obtain a working e-mail address. In addition to e-mail, we attempted contact via USPS, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, telephone, and candidate website contact forms. A minimum of two attempts was made to contact every candidate and all contact attempts were documented. If a technical problem was uncovered or the candidates needed additional assistance, the issues were addressed and rectified.

The Questions: For consideration of fairness and clarity, the questions were asked so that a yes/no answer was appropriate. Constructed responses to open-ended questions would have required some analysis on the part of magazine staff to ascertain support on a particular issue (or lack thereof). Though the answers that appear here reflect the polar nature of the survey, it is the most accurate and fair representation of the candidates’ support of issues important to the LGBT+ community. There was a space accompanying each question that allowed the candidate to elaborate on answers, however, this additional response will only be available online and not in the print edition in our Sept/Oct issue due to space restrictions. The full survey and responses will remain available online.

Understanding the Responses: Upon signing into the survey, candidates were made aware that skipped questions would be reported as such. All candidates were also informed that text explanations of their yes/no answers would only appear online.