A constituency is any cohesive corporate unit or body bound by shared structures, goals or loyalty. It can be used to describe a business's customer base and shareholders, or a charity's donors or those it serves. The most common meaning of constituency occurs in politics and means either the group of people from whom an individual or organization hopes to attract support, or the group of people or geographical area that a particular elected representative or group of elected representatives represents.

A "'constituent" is any member of a constituency, including those who didn't vote for an elected representative.

The term is frequently used in US politics. In most democracies the term is not that relevant, since the electorate is represented by more than one elected legislator, and the elected legislator has a responsibility to all the electorate rather than to his constituents. In the US system electorate and constituents are identical groups, but that is not the case in representative democracies. The electorate are all who can vote in the election (e.g. to the parliament), but the constituents are only those who can vote for a particular candidate in that election.

In US political campaigns the terms is often used to divide the legislator's electorate into separate groups, for instance along racial lines, religious lines, cultural lines, sexual preference lines, etc. (e.g., 'the LGBT constituency', which shall be interpreted as the intersection of the LGBT community, and the Constituency).

Outreach to a constituency

The franking privilege in the United States Congress allows elected members to freely send direct mail to their entire constituency.

Core constituency

The term "core constituency" is sometimes used to refer to a base of supporters. The constituency of a member of Congress, for instance, might be every citizen in his district, but his core constituency could be the people who voted for him in the last election.

ee also

*Constituent country


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  • constituency — con·stit·u·en·cy /kən sti chə wən sē/ n pl cies 1: a body of citizens entitled to elect a representative (as to a legislative or executive office) 2: the residents in an electoral district 3: an electoral district Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of… …   Law dictionary

  • Constituency — Con*stit u*en*cy (k[o^]n*st[ict]t [ u]*[ e]n*s[y^]), n.; pl. {Constituencies} (k[o^]n*st[ict]t [ u]*[ e]n*s[i^]z). A body of constituents, as the body of citizens or voters in a representative district. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • constituency — body of constituents, 1806, from CONSTITUENT (Cf. constituent) + CY (Cf. cy) …   Etymology dictionary

  • constituency — [n] voting public balloters, body of voters, body politic, citizenry, city, county, district, electorate, electors, faction, nation, people, precinct, state, system, voters, voting area, ward; concept 379 …   New thesaurus

  • constituency — ► NOUN (pl. constituencies) 1) a body of voters in a specified area who elect a representative to a legislative body. 2) chiefly Brit. the area represented in this way …   English terms dictionary

  • constituency — [kən stich′o͞o ən sē] n. pl. constituencies [< CONSTITUENT + CY] 1. all the people, esp. voters, served by a particular elected official, esp. a legislator 2. the district of such a group of voters, etc. 3. a group of clients, supporters, etc …   English World dictionary

  • constituency — noun 1 (esp. BrE) district that elects a political representative ADJECTIVE ▪ important, key ▪ home (AmE), local ▪ marginal (BrE) ▪ The Tories are conce …   Collocations dictionary

  • constituency — con|sti|tu|en|cy W3 [kənˈstıtʃuənsi] n plural constituencies 1.) BrE an area of a country that elects a representative to a parliament ▪ a rural constituency ▪ constituency boundaries ▪ He represents the Essex constituency of Epping Forest. 2.) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • constituency — [[t]kənstɪ̱tʃuənsi[/t]] constituencies 1) N COUNT A constituency is an area for which someone is elected as the representative in a parliament or government. 2) N COUNT: usu with supp A particular constituency is a section of society that may… …   English dictionary

  • constituency — noun (plural cies) Date: 1831 1. a. a body of citizens entitled to elect a representative (as to a legislative or executive position) b. the residents in an electoral district c. an electoral district 2 …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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