Sunday, October 31, 2004

The Burn-Out Factor

Being less than an hour from New Hampshire, a large number of my students have been canvassing up there this weekend. For what it's worth, here's an email I just received from one of them:

"On Saturday, I went canvassing for Kerry in Manchester, New Hampshire. Manypeople I spoke with were tired of opening the door to find people electioneering. It didn't seem to matter whether we were "selling" Kerry orBush. Most had already made up their mind, but would not tell us which candidate they supported. They guaranteed us they would vote on November 2nd. Also, some people even asked if we would stop coming to their house, sending them literature in the mail, and calling them on the telephone. New Hampshire in general seemed to be fairly hostile to those of us out canvassing."

We often think of political parties as "teams" organized against one another for the pursuit of the votes of the public. My students' experiences suggest that we might also think of the two parties as engaged in a conspiracy to agitate the public and rob them of their leisure time.


salas said...

I did some canvassing in my county in the Philadelphia suburbs with the state democratic campaign over the past few days. I got a lot of the same hostility as described among the New Hampshire canvassers, multiplied by the fact that people from 527 groups were also canvassing the same area at the same time. It's against some campaign law to co-ordinate with 527 groups, but the end result of this non-coordination is that some areas get canvassed repeatedly and the people in those areas get annoyed.

This annoyance was offset by the fact that some people were unsure of the polling place or time before I told them, and others were excited about Kerry/Edwards or Joe Hoeffel and took multiple fliers to pass out to their friends. Yesterday we ran into a guy working with the local democratic committee and we had a good conversation about the state of the dems in the county. Apparently, there are twice as many Democratic voter registrations as Republican registrations in the county, which is a obviously a good sign from my perspective.

Anonymous said...

I live in Portugal, that belongs to EU since 86 and I can't imagine what is like to have someone knocking at your door to tell you in who your supposed to vote. I can't imagine someone phoning me to say... hey candidate x is great. At the 3rd person ringing my bell, I would probably call the police (Portuguese laws don't allow that kind of campaign).
But on the American case (and as I am European, I belong to the large anti-bush group) I would volunteer to make campaign of whoever could knock out bush on the elections.
Vote for Kerry

Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity (if that's the word) to make some calls the other night for a local Republican candidate in a tough contest for a seat in the Congress.

This is in a state where Bush leads by 30 points, the incumbent Republican senator is running essentially unopposed, and there's not much work going on outside the race.

And, still, people are tired of the race. The best response I received was a "I"ve already voted for him" from someone answering the phone, in place of "hello". Most people's threshold is pretty low.

Which isn't to say this crap doesn't work.