The Working America Canvass Difference in Modesto
A young woman answered the first door I knocked on. Within four minutes had signed her up for Working America with her email and phone number. And I chatted with her for another 10 minutes. I was amazed.
I have canvassed in four presidential, three congressional and several issue campaigns. In four minutes I had gotten past all the usual stumbling blocks of canvassing – she actually talked to me and identified her key issue, we didn’t digress into a detailed discussion of any major issues, or careen off into a partisan discussion, she did not put up the defensive wall against a stranger at the door, and without hesitation she gave me her email and telephone number.
I had a number of similar experiences on both days that I canvassed. My take on how this works is that the Working America technique engages the voter quickly, elicits an issue of concern to them and enables you to engage them personally on that issue, and then immediately show how joining Working America enables them to make their beliefs count. After that it often opens up into broader conversation.
I was able to meet a number of interesting people who had had all sorts of experiences, a young high school history teacher, a retiree who spent years selling drugs to ranchers, a middle-aged woman working for a defense contractor, and a recently unemployed healthcare worker.
To be sure not everyone I talked to agreed to sign up. I would estimate that between a third and a half of the people that I talked to did sign up. I understand that this is not unusual and that other canvassers not infrequently have an even higher sign up rate. [Is this true]? To be sure a number of people did not want to engage at all, but most were friendly in their refusal to talk.
In addition to the personal contact it is rewarding to know that once people are signed up, over time they will receive solid information about the major current issues and can help form a broader progressive base in congressional district 10. These are the reasons I look forward to doing more canvassing for Working America in CD 10.