After the jump, notes from the blue mass state, from an Obama canvasser and an Obama leaner. Send your on-the-ground observations to supertuesday08 -at- gmail -dot- com
Says the canvasser:
I think the most important function of volunteers like myself is to dispel the rumors and misinformation about Obama and the state of the election in general. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the truth of the matter is that most voters do not pay close attention to politics. So when a voter asks me if Obama still smokes (yes, for her that was a wedge issue), I have to calmly respond that no, the Senator doesn’t smoke anymore, he quit a few years ago.
So I’ve been volunteering for the Obama campaign for months now (before Jan 8 in NH, and since then in MA). Between the weekends of canvassing and the hundreds of phone calls I’ve made in the past few weeks, I can honestly say that the state of Massachusetts (which contributes the fifth most delegates tomorrow) is, at the least, in play for Obama, and at best leaning his way. The voters I’ve spoken to are registered Democrats of all types (not limited to undecided or leaning one way or the other). I think the most important function of volunteers like myself is to dispel the rumors and misinformation about Obama and the state of the election in general. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the truth of the matter is that most voters do not pay close attention to politics. So when a voter asks me if Obama still smokes (yes, for her that was a wedge issue), I have to calmly respond that no, the Senator doesn’t smoke anymore, he quit a few years ago. And when another voter says that Massachusetts never matters (including this time around), I explain that, for the first time in decades, the primary here matters quite a great deal.
I’ve been happy to find that many voters I’ve spoken to are eager to talk about Obama. They want me to convince them to vote for him. I just get the sense that a lot of Hillary-leaning voters are on the fence. She’s the safe choice, especially when you only know Obama from his victory speech in Iowa or South Carolina. But they are excited about Obama, and are eager to talk to someone who’s passionate about his candidacy and knowledgeable about his stances on the issues.
Many of my conversations with voters have ended with their thanks. Yesterday I spoke to an undecided woman in her 30s about the election for over 20 minutes. We talked about everything from the war in Iraq to health care to the state of politics in our country (she said she’s tired of business as usual in Washington). At the end of the conversation, she said she’s still undecided, though she’s now leaning for Obama. But she thanked me for talking to her, saying that “this was exactly what I needed.”
There’s an army of people like myself, all across the country, of all ages, races, and backgrounds, all of us making phone calls from our homes using Obama’s stellar website and vote builder database, all of us talking to our neighbors, friends, family, and colleagues about why Obama represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for change.
Just to let you know, I’ve been visited by 3 Obama canvassers. Good old fashioned get out the vote canvassing by young folks could make the difference.
Also, heard a radio message featuring Ted Kennedy’s speech.
I have Tivo so I miss the campaign commercials.
I’ve just seen one Hillary campaign sign in all of Boston.
[An anecdote:] Two twenty-something Obama canvassers showed up at my door. Asked me how I was going to vote. I said originally I was going to vote for Edwards, but looks like his campaign wouldn’t continue… I said Obama looks pretty good, but I hadn’t quite decided. I said all three candidates seemed to have similar positions, and I thought there were some good things about Hillary. Then one of them said “yeah, well… Oh look, there’s a hawk on your street!” I said, “what? really?” And I looked out. It was snowing.
We had a little exchange and I told them I would probably vote for Obama, and bid them adieu, etc. Then I thought to myself “A hawk. In Boston? In the winter…? Oh right…” And I felt a bit dense…
The next canvasser who showed up on Sunday let me know where to vote, and what time (which was useful info, because I didn’t know what time they were open)…
Anyway, not really exciting, but possibly something useful…
Maybe the Hillary sign thing isn’t a good example because I haven’t seen many Obama signs either…
Anyway, that’s the news from lake wobegon, Massachusetts…