Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Inside the Clinton Campaign- Des Moines

I've been working as a volunteer in the clinton campaign for the past few days making phone calls, canvassing, and checking messages. I was asked to sign a confidentiality agreement when I first went in to volunteer. There weren't any copies available and the person that I checked in with wasn't sure what to do with the agreement once I signed it, and it hasn't come up since.

She put me to work making calls to people in Des Moines. The first script I was given didn't go over very well with the folks on my call list. It was too long, and people were getting impatient. Some would cut me off, even supporters would stop me before I could finish.

I made more phone calls on the second day, but this time the script was way better. We were inviting people to an event on new year's eve where Hillary and Bill Clinton were to make an appearance.

Some people were really excited to have been invited, which was almost funny because the event was open to anyone and free of charge. A lot of people wondered if they could bring other people with them, and how much it would cost.

With the second script I had fewer negative responses and hang-ups.

One woman stopped me right in the middle of my little speech and said "You have got to be kidding me, I will never vote for Hillary."

A second angry call was an answering-machine response that said, "Nobody here would ever vote for Hillary."

Those were the only negative responses I recall.

I wonder how many phone calls that guy received before he decided to let the answering machine do the talking.

So, some people are getting annoyed with these phone calls, but we've got to keep doing it. We're not just trying to persuade people, we're trying to figure out where everybody stands. Each person we call receives a code based on the candidate they're leaning toward and how certain they are that they'll caucus for that candidate. If they have a second choice, we record that, too.

The next day I went canvassing at 9:30 a.m., but didn't get very far before they called me back in. I was assigned to one of the precincts in downtown Des Moines, so I didn't have to drive far from the office.

We were knocking on the doors of people who told us that they would be caucusing for Hillary to confirm that they were still able to go. Only one person was actually home, and she came to the door just long enough to say that she didn't want to talk.

Some people had better luck canvassing, though. I heard that one volunteer was able to speak to 58% of the people on their walk list, which is pretty impressive.

(Clinton campaign phone script and coding sheet)

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