erik lundegaard

GOTV in Pennsylvania

Spent a good part of yesterday at home making phonecalls for Barack Obama as part of his campaign's Get Out The Vote effort. Their online set up is pretty smart, and allows a volunteer to choose which (leaning, toss-up) state to call. I chose Pennsylvania, for obvious reasons, and it mostly went OK, although at least 90 percent of my calls resulted in 1) leaving messages, 2) wrong numbers, or 3) nobody home, which is different than 1) in that there was no answering machine or service to leave a message on or with. The phone just rang and rang and rang. A throwback to the '70s.

The most interesting person I talked to was an 80-something year-old woman who was voting for Obama, and who complained about all of the mail and robocalls she was getting from the McCain camp. “I'm not a Republican!” she kept saying indignantly. She also implied that FDR helped her father get a job during the Depression. Apparently he told his kids, and he had 12 of them, before he died, “If any of you vote Republican I'll roll over in my grave.” She was proud of that.

The most interesting polling location? “Prison Training Academy” in Philadelphia. 

My friend Andy, who was doing the same all weekend, got me on board yesterday and probably immediately regretted it, since I called him about five times with various questons. During one of those calls we got to talking about McCain's robocalls and what a nuissance they were. Andy said that whenever he left a message he always used the voter's name so they'd know it wasn't a robocall. That's when it hit me. Why McCain uses robocalls. Because he doesn't have people like us.

Yet another difference between the two campaigns. McCain uses a dehumanizing technique to dehumanize his opponent. Obama uses actual volunteers from around the country to make sure everyone gets out and votes.

A demain.

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Posted at 08:12 AM on Mon. Nov 03, 2008 in category Politics  


Tim wrote:

I had such a negative experience with phone banking in 2004 that when it came closer to election day I opted to write people in swing states rather than phone; kind of chickenshit, but it did allow me to form what I thought were persuasive statements better than I tend to be able to do on the phone. On the other hand, phone banking is kind of like direct mail marketing -- if you just accept a low return/conversation rate, maybe its worth the expense of all the copies/calls that are ignored. I just had a harder time than some with what seemed to be a lot of time taking abuse from people on the other end of the line.

That's a cool story about the old lady remembering FDR.
Comment posted on Mon. Nov 03, 2008 at 06:04 PM
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