Sunday, October 14, 2012

Canvassing On a Sunday

Today was my first official day as an IDPCC intern! And I spent this blustery, fall Sunday knocking on doors. Like I said, this isn't the most glamorous internship, but I did enjoy it.

When I went to our pop-up office today I had no idea what to expect. My boss told me that we would be canvassing but I didn't know where we would be, how many people would be there, or what I was supposed to say. I learned the answers to all of these questions upon arrival!

Our team today was only three people and we each split up to canvass on our own. It felt a little like trying to ride a bike for the first time. If you know me, you probably realize that knocking on the doors of strangers is definitely outside my comfort zone, so today was interesting. We didn't just go door-to-door in every neighborhood as I had initially thought. I was given a list of 75 names and addresses along with a map and a rough script.

My first couple of houses were pretty rough, but after that I felt like I got into the swing of things. Yeah, I stuttered a few times and probably made a fool of myself, but overall I feel good about how the day turned out. The responses that I got from each house varied, but I would  categorize them in four different groups.

Enthusiastic Democrats: These people were immediately excited when I told them I was interning with the Indiana Democratic Party. They couldn't thank me enough for getting out and informing people about the candidates and issues. These people were DEFINITELY voting for Joe Donnelly and John Gregg. I had one of these Enthusiastic Democrats talk my ear off for twenty minutes. She was precious and I was happy to listen, but I had a lot of houses to get to!

Skeptical Independents: When I told these folks who I was representing as I knocked on their doors they narrowed their eyes a little bit. They politely listened to what I had to say, but their responses to my questions were definitely guarded. I felt like some of them gave me the answers I wanted to hear and others gave me the answers they didn't think I wanted to hear. They were all nice enough.

Privately Political: These are the people who refused to talk to me when I told them I was there to talk about the upcoming election. I don't have anything against anyone who is more prone to keep their political beliefs to themselves, but some people are downright rude! Fortunately, I've developed a pretty thick skin for these people. Who knew that working in retail would be so beneficial?

Right to be Right: Anderson is, not surprisingly, a red town. Of the 75 doors I knocked on today there were only a small handful of Republican voters. This was on purpose, of course. (The purpose of today's work was to reach out to Democratic or undecided voters and encourage them to take advantage of the early vote.) All of the Republican voters I encountered were very polite and kindly answered my questions. I did feel like I saw a little pity in the eyes of a few people though.

The best response of the day goes to the elderly woman who told me she wasn't sure about John Gregg because she wasn't sure what he was hiding in his mustache.

All in all, I would say that canvassing was a positive experience for me. I was pushed to do something I'd never done before and I did it by myself! It's been a long Sunday, but I'm ready to take on the rest of the week.

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