First, setting the record straight, I owe Cats a post for creating my music thread two Fridays ago (and yes Gummitch I will be on schedule for this Friday. You have the night off).
Cats and I volunteered this past Saturday for the Obama campaign. We were give a street list and a script and asked to canvas particular addresses of a cluster development in what would be regarded as a solidly middle class neighborhood in eastern Berks County (Pennsylvania). Homes go for $200,000 to $250,000, meaning that a $1500 a month mortgage is shaky if one of the two wage earners in the family looses a job, and suicide watch is on order if the single wage earner of the family stumbles. By the looks of this neighborhood, most folks had their heads above water for the time being. The ‘American Dream’ was being lived in some fashion here. The grass was green and most lawns were cut trim.
Weather affects politics as we know by the age old adage that bad weather on Election Day bodes poorly for Dems. Well good weather also bodes poorly if you are out canvassing when the temperature is 70 degrees and sparse, thin clouds number in the single digits. There were a lot of ‘nobody home’ on our check boxes. Soccer meets, biking and shopping took precedence over mowing the lawn or watching football on TV.
The strategic boiler room cooked up the following strategy (which we did not completely realize until the end of the day): we were to interview the 1 X 4 voters to see which way they leaned, and what were their hot issues. 1 X 4 voters are those who just vote during presidential elections. They are also known as ‘drop-off voters’ and regardless of party affiliation are also ‘low information’ voters. Some of these folks fail to find the time to become informed, some choose not to be informed, and others make the judgment that there vote doesn’t mean much, so voting does not hold great meaning in their lives. In the few interviews we were able to conduct face-to-face, we found folks who stated they were voting for Obama again @1/4 of the sample, some who were undecided (or did not want to revel to us) at about 50% of the sample, and those who were strong Romney supports (some of whom confessed that they were ‘going the other way’ this year back to the Republican side) filling the last quartile.
The purpose of the activity was to bring back a list of supporters (so that they could be called right before the election to be reminded to vote) and the leaners so they could be persuaded to get in the right column on Election Day. We had a list of 100 homes, and probably knocked on 50 doors in 2 and ½ hours. Across the country there were foot soldiers like us grinding out data in the streets on Saturday so that the strategists could fine-tune the next seven weeks. As is frequent in presidential elections, the ‘undecideds’ hold the most sway, as unfair as that might sound. This is no time to sit on the sidelines.