Latest WaPo/ABC poll: Obama 49, Romney 46 among likely voters. Get on the phone and start calling. Yes you can!
I’m not a natural salesperson; that’s why I am content to remain in the academy. The prospect of cold-calling gives me, well, the shivers. But given the closeness of this election, even I had to start volunteering to make calls. I just finished a shift about an hour and a half ago, and I wound up making about 50 calls.
I cannot report any great insights into the state of the race; but I can report that the process is pretty painless, and I don’t have a particularly high pain threshold.
I didn’t even have to go into a campaign headquarters, although that can develop a good sense of camraderie. With Organizing for America, you are given a script, but the really interesting thing is the technology. You give them your phone number; their recorded message calls you, and then you click on a button on the OFA website. On the website, the person’s name pops up, with their age, gender, and party affiliation. The computer dials their number. You ask to speak to them, and off you go! After the call, you record the information, and only then do you get another call automatically dialed by the computer.
It’s so easy, even I could do it.
This wasn’t about deep, dialogic conversations concerning the future of public policy in the United States. More than anything else for me, it was about registering who was a likely Obama voter, who was a likely Romney voter, who was undecided. Even those who didn’t like the President were pretty polite, especially as soon as I told them I was a volunteer. People might get hot under the collar with people asking for money, but most people are relatively friendly.
Perhaps the most interesting conversation I had was with a young woman who said that she didn’t want to talk over the phone, but that I could send her materials through e-mail. And she gave me her e-mail (or so she said). So I am going to get a few links and send them to her with a nice note, saying that if she wants to talk more I’m happy to. That’s people power, I hope!
To the extent that the national polls before the WaPo one were telling us things, it is that there is an enthusiasm gap: Obama consistently leads among registered voters, and Romney has a very thin lead nationwide among “likely” voters. There are lots of problems and issues with likely voter screens, but the overall point is clear: if we get our people to the polls, we win.
So call. Sign up at OFA and make those calls. It’s crucial.