Hope Springs from Field PAC has been canvassing in the Senate Swing States of Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for the last year (although Arizona and Nevada were additions after the new year) with an Issues Canvass that asks people about the Issues of most concern to them. And we have been collecting comments about abortion throughout that time — first, in Pennsylvania, when Dobbs was first in the news, then in North Carolina and Nevada after the leaked draft. I fully expect tomorrow’s canvasses to be bigger than we expected, since organizers in four states (so far — this is around 2 PM) have told me we’ll need more turf!
And I am sure you get it. If you’re like me, you’ve been inundated today with requests for donations from probably every candidate out there who’s ever even thought about you. And, as my wife said, her Facebook feed has been blowing up. But, before I talk further about what we have found at voter’s doors in these Senate Swing States and what we are doing to elect Democrats to the Senate, let me reiterate that Stare Decisis does not protect the Dobbs decision unless we allow it to. And we can’t let that happen. More than 300 Supreme Court decisions have been overturned and we must commit ourselves to insuring that Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization is added to that list.
In our canvassing, we really started to see Reproductive Privacy concerns pop up in our May 7th canvasses. This was directly after the leaked Alito draft opinion was covered in Politico. That week (as you can see to the right), voters in Arizona and Nevada brought it up when we asked, “What Issue do you believe is most urgent facing our country at this time?”
The next weekend’s canvassing was more instructive. Our May 7th canvassing in Florida we found voters who feared that Gov. DeSantis would call a special session to ban abortions in the state if Roe v Wade is overturned. They fear pressure on Planned Parenthood clinics and basically, “afraid that DeSantis would do to reproductive self-determination what he just did to Disney.” You probably won’t be too surprised that DeSantis has promised to do just that today.
In Arizona, North Carolina and Nevada Reproductive Freedom was the third most frequent response on May 7th. In Nevada, we had voters ask very pointed questions (intended for their Members of Congress) such as: “Where do you stand on the Women’s Health Protection Act?” “What can you do to protect Women’s Rights if the Supreme Court strikes down our Right to Control our Bodies?“ “Will you oppose a federal abortion ban?” “Do you support the ERA?” And often these responses were unrelated to voters’ response to the questions about their views on urgent concerns before the country and Nevada.
May 21st was our first week in 2022 knocking on doors in Pennsylvania and it was also the first week Reproductive Rights was the second most frequent response in two states. It was also the second most cited concern in North Carolina. And while concern over Reproductive Freedom was probably expected in the Mainline, where we had been canvassing last summer and fall, we are now knocking on doors north of that, in more swingy suburbs. Reproductive Privacy was third that week in Georgia and Nevada. (btw, i am using rights, freedom and privacy interchangeably.)
But here’s what was significant about our canvassing on May 21st in this regard: the voters who mentioned Reproductive Rights as an Urgent Issue of interest were no longer older, primarily white women. It was the number 2 issue in Pennsylvania because of younger women and number three in Georgia because of African-American women. I was watching this closely because I have friends for whom Reproductive Rights is their “single issue,” and we’ve discussed this a lot since the Alito draft opinion became public. But now it was starting to break through.
How much it was starting to break through was evident in our May 28th canvasses. This was Memorial Day weekend, and even though we had fewer volunteers out, we still had 1,020 volunteers come out to knock on 71,448 doors and talked to 5,884 voters. In Florida and Nevada, Reproductive Freedom was the second most frequent response. In Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, it was third. And that week — Memorial Day weekend — we really started to have men speak out about their concern. Granted, it was more men who could be father’s than younger men (whom we don’t really see taking the Issues Survey), but we definitely were now seeing the full spectrum of Democratic and independent voters recognizing Reproductive Rights as an Issue of Concern.
Hope Springs from Field PAC is knocking on doors in a grassroots-led effort to increase awareness of the fact that Democrats care about our voters and are working to protect their rights. We are thinking about how to mitigate Voter Suppression efforts, get around them and make sure we have "super compliance," both informing and helping our voters meet the requirements and get out and vote. We are taking those efforts to the doors of the communities most effected (the intended targets or victims) of these new voter suppression laws.
Obviously, we rely on grassroots support, so if you support field/grassroots organizing and our efforts to protect our voters, we would certainly appreciate your support:
Hope Springs from Field PAC was started by former Obama Field Organizers because field was the cornerstone of our success. The approach we adopted was focused on listening, on connecting voters and their story to the candidate and our cause. Repeated face to face interactions are critical. And we are among those who believe that Democrats didn’t do as well in the 2020 Congressional races as expected because we didn’t knock on doors. We are returning to the old school basics: repeated contacts, repeated efforts to remind them of protocols, meeting them were they are. Mentoring those who need it (like first time and newly registered voters). Reminding, reminding, reminding, and then chasing down those voters whose ballots need to be cured.
Hope Springs has targeted states that have competitive Senate races in 2022 as well as districts that are remapped in ways that offer opportunities or vulnerabilities for Democrats next year. As not every state has completed their re-maps, re-districting hasn’t yet made those opportunities/needs apparent. The Senate map started out clear. That may be changing. There are places we need to defend (Georgia, Arizona and Nevada) and there are opportunities. Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are such opportunities.
When the Alito draft first came out, only about 2% of the voters we had talked to have said something that indicates some concern about Reproductive Rights. I am defining this broadly; so, for example, this includes the approximately dozen women who have mentioned the ERA. Remember, we are only canvassing in Senate Swing States, so the numbers are probably different for Deep Blue states like California or Deep Red states like Utah. And we talk to Democratic and independent voters; Republican households are screened off our walk lists (mixed households — and there are more of these then people realize — are included).
By Memorial Day weekend, that number had increased almost tenfold. And the interest we saw at the doors for Reproductive Freedom has been completely news driven. Because people saw or heard something about the Alito draft, they had it on their minds. Every time the subject gets mass media coverage, it pops up in some form in our canvassing. But this is also an indication that interest in the topic is primarily (overwhelmingly) among older women, in our experience. By Memorial Day, very few of the voters we talk to who raised it were in the 30-44 age range — voters more likely to get their news from social media etc. Not a single young voter we talked (18-29 yo) raised the issue before June.
In the first Saturday of June, it started to look like the controversy had died down. It was the second most cited Issue in Nevada and remained third in Pennsylvania. The news had moved on, and voter attention was elsewhere.
On June 11, Reproductive Freedom was the second most frequent response in North Carolina and Wisconsin. The North Carolina canvass was significant, as younger voters started to tell us they were concerned. At least one younger male (18-29) told one of our volunteers that it was his most urgent concern. In Wisconsin, Reproductive Rights was a bigger factor in the WOW counties surrounding Milwaukee than in the cities of Madison or Milwaukee. A suburban concern, so to speak.
Reproductive Rights has been mentioned to our volunteers in every state but Ohio (where we just started knocking) sufficiently to make it into our Top 3 Issues. This is no small thing. It clearly is an Issue of Concern to Democrats and independent voters in these Senate Swing States. I suspect this weekend (tomorrow), we will get an idea just how angry voters are about this.
We have now knocked on more than 750,000 doors in Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. At each door we leave literature, and since May 2 (when the Alito draft came out) we have emphasized Democrats’ belief in Freedom to Control our Bodies, our Reproductive Rights. Freedom, as we say, is on the Ballot. And not the fake freedoms that Republicans like to harp on about, but real Freedom, Freedom to Choose for Ourselves. Our Right to Privacy. It is time to take a stand.
We don’t ask voters about their issues and concerns just because polls are great. These aren’t polls. We target Democrats and independent voters and try to weed out Republican households (although we do knock on doors of split households — usually where the female is a Democrat). Responses to the Issues Canvass are added to VAN (the Democratic database) in an open-source manner, which should allow all Democratic candidates who use the database to access them. We are looking for single issue voters, especially because we know that visceral voters always vote, no matter what. And we believe that Reproductive Rights supporters will be visceral voters in 2022 and 2024.
Like I said above, if you are like me, you’ve received dozens and dozens of requests for contributions today. Here’s the difference between the money you’ve undoubtedly parted with today and any financial support you could give to Hope Springs from Field PAC: we are not spending money on television or digital advertising, we are knocking on doors. We are talking to voters about their issues and concerns and we are recording that into VAN. Their responses are available to the Democratic nominees for the general election. Any Democrat who is running in these areas and who uses VAN will be able to see who are the voters we talk to for whom Reproductive Rights is their issue.
This isn’t persuasion canvassing. I wish that the groups who have been leading the way in Reproductive Freedom would be knocking on doors, especially with women who have had an experience in this area, so they could share their stories with voters. Put a face on Reproductive Freedom, especially in states where abortion was just banned today. Or will be in the near future.
We didn’t start knocking on doors because we knew that Roe v Wade would be overturned today. But the data we are collecting, the terminology we learn from voters at their doors, the way that voters think about the issues is valuable to our Senate candidates, indeed, to all Democrats on the ballot this fall. Hope Springs from Field PAC’s canvassing is preparing the battlefield terrain upon which this issue, and others, will be fought in 2022, 2024 and beyond. By asking voters what they care about, what problems they see in the public areas of their neighborhoods, what issues they have had or witnessed at their polling places, we are not only turning out more Democrats to vote, we are making it easier for Democrats and like-minded voters to see their votes count. We have been identifying voters who are concerned about Abortion Rights and entering that fact into the VAN (the Democratic voter database) for Democratic candidates and campaigns to use. This is work that needs to be done, and we would certainly appreciate your support.
If you are able to support our efforts to protect Democratic voters, especially in minority communities, expand the electorate, and believe in grassroots efforts to increase voter participation and election protection, please do:
Thank you for your support.