Canvassing

So I did my first full-fledged campaigning for Obama today, first going to see the Senator speak for a few minutes at a ski lodge near Manchester (I got this close to shaking his hand, which I’m sure is what every other person there is claiming) and then going door-to-door collecting signatures for a petition calling on NH’s Republican Senators, Judd Gregg and John Sununu, to vote to override the veto on the funding bill with a timetable. Obama is very big on getting a supermajority in favor of withdrawal, and “just sixteen more votes” appeared numerous times in the campaign literature (along with, of course, “I opposed this war from the start”). Anyway, I quickly discovered that very few of the good people of Manchester, NH answer their doors at 10 AM on a Saturday, that those that do are more likely to politely decline to talk to me and/or call me a “defeatocrat” than actually sign the petition, and that petition papers and voter rolls can get very, very wet and hard to deal with when it’s raining even moderately hard. But I did get a couple signatures, and it’s good for the Obama campaign to know what houses include people who use words like “defeatocrat” and are thus very unlikely to support him. The whole event was topped off by a barbecue at Obama’s New Hampshire headquarters. Overall, a quite successful campaign event.

4 thoughts on “Canvassing

  1. I have a sign by my front door that says “no soliciting”, and I mean it. Even if I agree with you 110%, you would still have to go away.
    I think that a better way to canvas is to set up a table at a large gathering such as a city picnic. Maybe a mall would work too. It’s a more voluntary source of attention than going door to door.

  2. Yeah, I ran into one of those signs. Though it read, “No Soliciting or Campaining”; seriously, who mispells “campaigning” on a sign for public consumption?
    I think the main point of this, as well as of phone banking, is information gathering – who any given person is leaning towards, what issues they care about, etc. But I think phone banking is a better way of discovering that sort of thing. It makes the script easier to follow for volunteers, it isn’t restricted by weather, it’s more likely to get a response, and it limits the negative impact volunteers can have. Especially that last point – if you’re having volunteers canvass, you’re sending people who you cannot control out into the streets representing your campaign. That’s dangerous.

  3. I think the main point of this, as well as of phone banking, is information gathering – who any given person is leaning towards, what issues they care about, etc.
    Campaign consultants already know a lot about that from various databases and statistical patterns. The fact that they told you nothing about it means that you have a low-cooperation relationship with them. I would above all recommend some mode of support for Obama that preserves your dignity. That criterion rules out both door-to-door and cold phone calls.

  4. Campaign consultants already know a lot about that from various databases and statistical patterns.
    I’m sure they do. I’m sure they’d also like to know more.
    The fact that they told you nothing about it means that you have a low-cooperation relationship with them.
    I’m not some dupe, Greg.
    I would above all recommend some mode of support for Obama that preserves your dignity. That criterion rules out both door-to-door and cold phone calls.
    For what it’s worth, I’m working for him as an intern this summer. I think my dignity will do fine.

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