This is our fourth week of canvassing in Nevada, knocking on doors in the Reno Suburbs and west of Las Vegas. 168 volunteers came out on Saturday to knock on doors for Hope Springs from Field PAC and plant the Democratic flag for the November election. Because Democrats Care.
We’ve been canvassing with an Issues Questionnaire that allows voters to tell us what is on their minds. We use it as a conversational check to guide volunteers through their dialog at the door. It makes it easy on our volunteers as provides us with vital data that will be entered in VAN (the Democratic database) after the primary.
Our very first priority in these Senate Swing State canvasses is making sure that everyone in the houses that opened their doors was registered to vote at their current address. Updating voter registration is just as important as getting unregistered people registered to vote. Voters who aren’t registered at their current address (as required by HAVA) risk being challenged at the polls by the right-wing nuts like MGT or True Vote poll watchers. A lot of voters don’t realize this, and don’t mind being reminded that they need to update their address to stay (legally) on the voter rolls.
Inflation remains the biggest concern for most of the voters who have responded. Schools was our second most frequent response. And, now, with the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health opinion hanging over our heads, concerns over Reproductive Rights has crept into voters minds and into third place among the Nevada voters we talked to on Saturday.
Just like last week, the economy/jobs was definitely the top concern raised in the Nevada specific question (number 3 on the issues survey above.) So there is some economic insecurity among these voters that we don’t really see elsewhere.
But, again, where Reproductive Rights really made a dramatically new appearance was the question we asked about sending a message to their Member of Congress. Responses to this is generally all over the place. If appropriate, we will send these along to the Democratic Member for that voter.
We continue to get a lot more direct questions to Members of Congress. “Where do you stand on the Women’s Health Protection Act?” “What can you do to protect Women’s Rights if the Supreme Court strikes down our Right to Control our Bodies?“ “Will you oppose a federal abortion ban?” “Do you support the ERA?” And often these responses were unrelated to voters’ response to the questions about their views on urgent concerns before the country and Nevada.
Voter views of President Biden flattened a little this week. Biden’s favorable numbers was down 1 percentage point to 62% in Nevada last Saturday. 11% expressed disapproval in the job the president was doing and voters have been pretty clear why. They tell us they wish Biden could or would do more about inflation and/or the price of gas and groceries.
We still did not get a lot of feedback on Senator Cortez Masto but it was noticeably higher than the prior weeks. Whereas previously 60% of the voters we talked to did not express an opinion of the senator, this week almost half had some form of opinion. A mere 3% told us they had an unfavorable of the senator. But 43% said that had a favorable view.
Governor Sisolak continues to make a bigger impact. More than 50% of the Democratic and Independent voters we talked to gave Sisolak a favorable rating. 8% said they had an unfavorable impression. But we did get two questions from voters about whether Sisolak would “preserve” Reproductive Rights in the state. As unlikely as it would seem that Nevada would allow an abortion ban to be signed into law given the current composition of the state house, it is something that came to mind for those voters. Reproductive Rights is becoming a factor in people’s voting decisions this year (of course, we still don’t know how the Supreme Court will actually rule).
Hope Springs from Field PAC has been knocking on doors in a grassroots-led effort to increase awareness of the fact that Democrats care about our voters and are working to protect their rights, and, in March, we will begin an even bigger effort. We are thinking about how to mitigate Voter Suppression efforts, get around them and make sure we have "super compliance," both informing and helping our voters meet the requirements and get out and vote. We are taking those efforts to the doors of the communities most effected (the intended targets or victims) of these new voter suppression laws.
Obviously, we rely on grassroots support, so if you support field/grassroots organizing, voter registration (and follow-up) and our efforts to protect our voters, we would certainly appreciate your support:
Hope Springs from Field PAC was started by former Obama Field Organizers because field was the cornerstone of our success. But the reason we won the Iowa Caucus in 2008 was because we registered voters and then turned them out! The approach we adopted was focused on listening, on connecting voters and their story to the candidate and our cause. Repeated face to face interactions are critical. And we are among those who believe that Democrats didn’t do as well in the 2020 Congressional races as expected because we didn’t knock on doors — and we didn’t register new voters (while Republicans did). We are returning to the old school basics: repeated contacts, repeated efforts to remind them of protocols, meeting them were they are. Mentoring those who need it (like first time and newly registered voters). Reminding, reminding, reminding, and then chasing down those voters whose ballots need to be cured.
Hope Springs has targeted states that have competitive Senate races in 2022 as well as districts that are remapped in ways that offer opportunities or vulnerabilities for Democrats next year. As not every state has completed their re-maps, re-districting hasn’t yet made those opportunities/needs apparent. The Senate map started out clear. That may be changing. There are places we need to defend (Georgia, Arizona and Nevada) and there are opportunities. North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are such opportunities. There is a lot of work to be done!
But we got positive feedback just from knocking on their doors. The work we are doing now is basically make-up work. In swing or target states, Democrats -- but especially the presidential campaigns -- will focus on voter registration efforts as kind of kick-off canvassing. It is a way to generate interest, enthusiasm and finding volunteers. Asking people if they are registered to vote (hopefully, asking if they are registered to vote at their current address!) is a lot easier than asking them to vote for your preferred candidate. But we couldn't do that in 2020. Covid-19 knocked us out of the ground game.
We also ask voters if they have any local infrastructure issues they would tell local elected officials about. We ask those who do if they wanted to fill out Constituent Service Request forms. 53 voters raised some area that they wanted addressed. We pass these along to the relevant local official for the request. We use a generic CSR because cities and towns have vastly different methods and forms for dealing with this.
Constituent Service Requests are handed over to (hopefully Democratic) office holders with responsibilities for the area of the request. Q-slips will be sent directly to the campaigns of Democratic candidates. Comments from Observation Forms are entered into VAN, as well.
We ask voters if they have any concerns about the upcoming elections and, if they do, if they have witness prior acts of Voter Intimidation or Suppression, or if they had any concerns about how their polling place functioned. If they respond in the affirmative, we ask them if they would like to fill out an Incident Report, as best as they can remember the action about which they are concerned. 2 voters did so this week.
We can't overstate the impact of not doing traditional voter contact/outreach by knocking on doors in 2020. In every single state where Hope Springs from Field PAC has canvassed, voters have thanked volunteers for knocking on their doors. We were missed in 2020, not just by those who would open their doors to canvassers but also by whole neighborhoods, who may not have opened their doors but witness canvassers in their neighborhoods, saw the literature left behind and talked to neighbors who had spoken to volunteers. The reinforcement by the process was missed. They told us this.
Door to Door canvassing is the most effective way to reach voters but it is doubly important now since Democrats didn’t really do in-person canvassing in 2020. And, yet, we have found that voters missed that kind of in-person contact and ability to have a conversation about political issues and concerns. Our own experience knocking on doors in Texas and the Senate Swing States last year was that many Democrats and Independents felt more confident supporting candidates who sent people out into their neighborhoods asking for their support.
We knock on the doors of Democratic and Independent voters. At every door, we leave a piece of “show the flag” lit, something that tells them we were there and hopefully reinforces the Democratic brand. The lit focuses on the things voters told us were important to them last fall, aiming to appeal to every voter. Far and away the number one issue that the voters we talked to in the Senate Swing States last year was inflation or price increases, and I imagine that concern has only increased.
Hope Springs from Field PAC has a hybrid approach. We aren’t interested in competing with regular campaign field organizing. We are in the field before they get there and then move on to voter protection when the Democratic campaigns start their intensive field work. Indeed, when we wind up the typical field work by Labor Day, we will encourage all the volunteers working with us to move over to the Senate campaigns in their states (and hope that our field organizers will be hired on by those campaigns). After Labor Day, we will begin organizing our Election Protection Project.
But we are also cognizant that Democratic turnout has traditionally dropped off more than Republicans in non-presidential years. So early, frequent voter contact is more important to our side. Equally important, though, is that starting early means that we can make up for our inability to register new voters in the presidential election because we took Covid and the health of our base seriously. Registering new voters (and re-registering existing voters at their current address, in compliance with HAVA) at their door is the hard way to do voter registration, but we catch people that our voter registration campaigns can miss because of their emphasis on larger-scale or mass voter registration.
By starting early, and aiming towards super-compliance with Nevada’s voting laws, Hope Springs from Field PAC seeks to undermine the Republican strategy of shaping the electorate.
If you are able to support our efforts to protect Democratic voters, expand the electorate, and believe in grassroots efforts to increase voter participation and election protection, please help:
Thank you for your support.
Does Yesterday's Results Make You More or Less Confident about a Democratic Majority in the U.S. Senate in 2023?
Does Yesterday's Results Make You More or Less Confident about a Democratic Majority in the U.S. Senate in 2023?
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