Earlier today, I drove up to Springfield, Massachusetts and did some door to door canvassing for the Coakley campaign.
(P.S. - if you're able, you should, too - even an hour will make a difference. Please check out kath25's diary for locations near you: http://www.dailykos.com/... )
This is what I learned...
The GOTV effort I saw was effecient and organized. There were union members as well as grassroots volunteers like myself who just showed up to give the time they were able to give. New Englanders from Vermont and southern Connecticut were there, as were lots of locals.
This is a re-canvass - in other words, canvassers have already been to these neighborhoods, spoken with voters and narrowed down the list to definite Coakley voters, or folks that they haven't ever been able to reach. The lists are very good and very accurate - what this means to you if you are able to canvass tonight is that you will be targeting exactly those voters we need to get to the polls. Your time will be used effeciently, and with hours to go that makes a big difference.
So, What's It Like Out There?
I canvassed in the mid-morning to early afternoon, and oddly enough there were a lot of folks home for a Tuesday. I'm hypothesizing that folks who had yesterday off may have taken today off as well for a long weekend. They're happy, they're relaxed and the first thing they'll do is complain about the number of calls they've been getting (apologies for that generally put big smiles on their faces). A fair number of folks I spoke with had already voted, and others told me they were "leaving in fifteen minutes" to go vote. Now, whether that had been the case before I knocked in their door I can't say - what I can say is that one sympathetic person on someone's doorstep asking for their vote makes a lot of difference.
Demographics-wise, I did speak with a lot of older women who voted for Coakley. No canvass is an absolute measure of the voting public, however I saw today in Massachusetts some of what I saw in New Hampshire canvassing during the primaries: women motivated to turn out and folks not picking up their phones because they just don't want to speak with one more campaign person or pollster. Will this be another New Hampshire? I have no idea - but take that observation for what it's worth.
Please, if you're in Massachusetts or close to it and you have some free time, knock on some doors. It's well worth it, you'll feel like you've done your part and it's been my experience that talking with real voters cures some of the angst of a high stakes election.
And thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you've done - it might just be that we turned this one around.
UPDATE: omgitsparishilton (gotta love that alias) posted a link to Nate Silver's thoughts on a possible "Shy Tory Factor" among Coakley supporters - namely, that Frank Luntz can't find any of them to spend face time with him on camara discussing their candidate:
I'd say this is either a really bad sign for Martha Coakley or a really good sign. The way in which it could be a really bad sign is obvious. But how could it be a really good sign?
Because Luntz isn't having trouble finding Coakley voters so much as he's having trouble finding Coakley voters who are willing to go on camera and talk about their candidate. And if people aren't willing to go on camera and talk about their candidate, they also might not be willing to talk to a pollster about their candidate. If there is non-response bias in the polls, which is basically the way that Coakley wins this, then this sort of anecdote that would be archetypal of that.
After talking to voters today, it wouldn't knock me off my feet to find some of this in play - i.e., Brown voters wanting to talk to every single pollster and media person out there because they want to get the message out that Massachusetts is winnable for a Republican, and Coakley voters just not wanting to debate the finer points of the candidate that they are quietly going to go to the polls to cast their votes for.
Another interesting parallel from my experience with Hillary Clinton voters in the New Hampshire primaries, if indeed this is what's happening on a wider scale in Massachusetts.