I spent 1/2 of Saturday and all of Sunday canvassing on behalf of Barack Obama, Jeanne Shaheen, Paul Hodes and Carol Shea-Porter in various locales around central and southern New Hampshire this weekend. In total, I knocked on 128 doors and believe I walked well over 10 miles. I love the role of canvasser; you get to really meet people close up and when they open up to you, you can really feel like you're making a difference in helping them feel how important this election is and the kind of positive difference Senator Obama can bring to our nation.
Follow me over the jump for my tabulation of the weekend's events.
I went "a-canvassing" in some of the rural (and I do mean ! – think ½ mile between houses and ¼ mile long driveways) and deep, crimson RED areas north of Concord NH. [For those of you who know NH, it was around Northfield and Canterbury, to be specific.]
All told, two of us probably hiked about 6 miles, knocked on about 40 doors today and spoke with about 25 people. Some of the people were quietly enthusiastic for Obama ("I am really hoping so much for the change he can bring this country.") and some were of the type that if I were to place them in Georgia or Mississippi someplace with a southern accent, they would definitely qualify as "rednecks" (that is, except perhaps for the fact that these rednecks drove Hummers, Porches and Mercedes, and were primarily concerned with holding on to their money...).
Here’s the Saturday count:
Obama: 12 Support / 9 Against / 2 Undecided / 2 Refused
Shaheen: 9 Support / 13 Against / 1 Undecided / 2 Refused
Sunday morning took me to the Manchester Obama office - state headquarters for the Obama campaign. The office was completely HUMMING - cars and people everywhere - with about 200 people around in the AM. My canvass territory was much more urban than the previous day, walking through nieghborhoods on the outskirts of the city to knock on 49 doors, and with a lot more Obama support here.
This morning's count:
Obama: 21 Support / 11 Against / 1 Undecided / 4 Refused
Shaheen: 19 Support / 13 Against / 1 Undecided / 4 Refused
I got back to the Manchester office, still FIRED UP and READY TO GO, so I was looking for another canvass pack to get going with. But Manchester had fulfilled the day's canvassers and sent me to the Merrimack staging location (about 10-12 miles south). I went down there, got my abbreviated pack (39 doors) and headed out into one of the more bizarre sets of neighboorhoods I've seen canvassing. One street would have several very large, very well put-together houses (a number of which sported McCain/Palin signs), while you could turn the block onto the next street and be faced with abject poverty - people living in ramshackle buildings literally in shadow of those large homes. For me it wass very moving.
The Sunday PM count:
Obama: 13 Support / 6 Against / 4 Undecided / 5 Refused
Shaheen: 12 Support / 8 Against / 3 Undecided / 5 Refused
There were so many positive comments during my canvassing - lots of statements about "hope", "making a difference", "getting this country moving in the right direction again" and so on. And there were also three or four "lectures" about why people thought Obama was "bad" for the country - typically stuffed so full of lies and misrepresentations that I couldn't even begin to reason with them.
There was an electricity in the rooms of all three of the Obama Headquarters I visited - in Concord, in Manchester and on my way home tonight in Nashua (where I put my name on the list to help drive people to the polls on Tuesday). The staff and hundreds and hundreds of volunteers I saw this weekend were stunning. And the energy, kindness and heartfelt thanks I got from the folks on Saturday in the small Northfield, NH staging location (literally a barn and farmhouse on a country road) was FANTASTIC and very touching. When I stopped in tonight at nearly 7pm, the Nashua office was still absolutely humming with the energy of volunteers tabulating canvass results, making phone calls and staff planning tomorrow's missions.
So the "results" of my little, completely unscientific "polling" data (MoE +/- 75% ;-))across three different NH towns/cities and multiple different income brackets revealed the following results.
Obama 51% / McCain 29% / Undecided 8% / Refused 12%
Shaheen 44% / Sununu 38% / Undecided 6% / Refused 12%
I'm going to take the most pessimistic view I can, given the paucity of the data here and assume all of the Undecided & Refused voters will side with McCain & Sununu v. Obama and Shaheen.
Using the above pessimistic assumptions, my weekend canvassing yielded the following:
Obama 51% / McCain 49%
Shaheen 44% / Sununu 56%
In short, GOTV really matters, people!
One thing that worried me was something an older gentleman said to me at one of my afternoon stops today. He was working just outside his garage, fixing an electrical connector, when I approached. I identified myself as a volunteer with the Obama Campaign (as if all the buttons and stickers I'd festooned myself with weren't enough of a dead give-away) and what came out of his mouth next sent shivers up my spine:
"I've been a lifelong Democrat, but you people had harrassed me with so many phone calls, stuff in the mail and knocks at my door that this year, I'm going to vote Republican."
This guy seemed royally pissed. I couldn't tell if he really was, or this was his way of sticking it to the Obama team. But there was a lot of venom in his voice. I apologized profusely for the interruptions and said that we had not meant to upset him or interrupt him. Because the canvassing hint on what to do at this particular door said, "Get them to vote!", I assumed this was a registered Democrat who hadn't voted in the last election or two. That would be consistent with what the man said to me.
What worries me is that we may be "carpet bombing" people with Lit-drops, door knocks, telephone calls, TV ads and US mail adverts. And this saturation may be creating something of a backlash among a segment of the voters.
Of course, I've had dozens of people tell me they were "voting with Obama all the way" and who thanked me profusely for walking around on his behalf, so I guess I'll stop with the Concern Trollishness right here.
There's only 1+ day left in this campaign. It's all about GOTV, GOTV, GOTV now!
VOTE and get everyone you know who is possibly sympathetic to the cause to vote as well. Use your phone, email, text-messaging, AIM, MySpace, Facebook and/or Twitter contacts to get your friends, co-workers, family, acquaintances, what-have-you to VOTE as well. Whatever you can do, please DO IT, NOW. Let's leave it all on the road.
Yes. WE. Can!