233 volunteers came out to knock on doors in Arizona last Saturday. Like last week, we had to modify our canvassing routine, which means we knocked far fewer doors than we otherwise would have. But a Heat Wave is a heat wave, which is why I am so appreciative for those who do come out.
We knew it was coming. We know how to do this (I started knocking on doors in Central Florida, where primaries were in late August) and one of the reasons why the Obama connection is so important to what we are doing now is that the field program in the Obama campaigns also prized volunteers to a high degree. No one wants a volunteer to get heat stroke, no one wants volunteers even coming close. Volunteers are valuable, and the fact is that if volunteers have health issues during a volunteer shift, they aren’t likely to come back. Volunteers are golden.
We cut turf differently during the summer for states that can experience hot late mornings/early afternoons. Hope Springs from Field PAC sends out volunteer teams in the hot months led by a driver. In Arizona, Nevada, Florida and Georgia — even North Carolina -- we cut summer turf and map out that turf with a car and driver in mind. We want a driver/supervisor to have eyes on each volunteer every 20-30 minutes or so. And when volunteers get too hot, they jump into the vehicle and join the watch on the other members of the team. We also know to cut turf in smaller segments than we would in the fall or spring.
So there are repeated opportunities to cool off, and to do some paperwork in an air-conditioned vehicle. With lots of cold water, baby wipes, cooling towels and an air-conditioned vehicle, our canvassers are safe, looked-after and don't look haggard when they knock on doors. We also suggest that people bring a change of shirts and I've even have drivers that create "privacy environments" in their SUVs for changing into dryer clothes.
For the past 3 months, we’ve been focusing our canvassing efforts in Arizona on the “Toss Up” Congressional District west of Phoenix (AZ-4; Stanton-D) and the currently Democratic district that was re-mapped into a more Republican one (AZ-6; Kirkpatrick-D) east of Tucson. But that’s not the reason we are knocking on doors there. We are focused on maintaining a Democratic Senate because this election seems more important than ever. Especially now, in light of the leaked Alito draft that could overturn Roe v Wade.
We asked voters who opened their doors if they were registered to vote at their current address. And we note that one of the benefits for those who are not currently registered at their current address is that the new Arizona voter registration form allows you to sign up for the Active Early Voting List to receive their early ballot by mail. Surprisingly, this is encouraging voters to update their voter registrations! It’s the little things.
Our major focus has been the Issues Survey. Normally, around 65% of the voters we talk to at their doors answer some or all of these questions although it was slightly lower on Saturday (I don’t think any of our results reached that percentage last weekend, though). Each week, we ask voters about what issue they think is the most urgent facing America right now. Gas prices was, once again, the top Issue mentioned by voters we talked to on Saturday. The Economy was second (and we again heard the R word), including the possibility of a Recession. Gun Violence was the third most mentioned issue.
Hope Springs from Field PAC led canvasses in the suburbs of the two Arizona metropolitan areas last Saturday. We have been knocking on the doors of Democrats and Independents in the western suburbs of both Phoenix and Tucson, swing neighborhoods were at least three conservative groups have also been out knocking on doors, although one is totally focused on a single issue. It is clear that there is a ground war going on in Arizona, and we need to rise to the challenge here.
We knock on the doors of Democratic and Independent voters, which means we aren’t seeing responses from anyone (yet) who identifies as Republican. At every door, we leave a piece of “show the flag” lit, something that tells them we were there and hopefully reinforces the Democratic brand. By our work and our presence we are trying to convey that Democrats care and we listen. The lit focuses on the things voters told us were important to them last fall, aiming to appeal to every voter. Far and away the number one issue that the voters we talked to in the Senate Swing States was inflation or price increases, and I imagine that concern has only increased since November.
Support (measured as job approval) for President Biden fell to 48% from the voters we talked to on Saturday (lowest number yet, in any state, quite frankly). But disapproval rose to 17%. Support for Senator Kelly rose this week (74%). But you can see in the graphic here that Senator Kelly is now “polling” well above President Biden amongst the voters we have talked to in Arizona, creating a bit of separation.
Hope Springs from Field PAC has been 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, and, in March, we will begin an even bigger effort. 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, voter registration (and follow-up) 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. But the reason we won the Iowa Caucus in 2008 was because we registered voters and then turned them out! 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 — and we didn’t register new voters (while Republicans did). 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.
We also ask voters who open their doors whether they want to fill out a Constituent Service Request form. And, when we start using this approach somewhere, we get a higher response rate on service requests than we do after we have been knocking for awhile. I can’t really explain why this is true, but it was true on Saturday, as well. This week, we collected 111 CSRs in Arizona. We usually collect several dozen CSR’s in Arizona (it doesn’t seem to fluctuate as much as other states).
Constituent Service Requests are handed over to (hopefully Democratic) office holders with responsibilities for the area of the request. Q-slips will be sent directly to the campaigns of Democratic candidates. Comments from Observation Forms are entered into VAN, as well.
Hope Springs from Field PAC has a hybrid approach. We aren’t interested in competing with regular campaign field organizing (or, quite frankly, other independent groups that will start knocking doors in the fall). We are in the field before they get there and then move on when the Democratic campaigns start their intensive field work. Indeed, when we wind up the typical field work by Labor Day, we will encourage all the volunteers working with us to move over to the Senate campaigns in their states (and hope that our field organizers will be hired on by those campaigns). After Labor Day, we will begin organizing our Election Protection Project.
By starting early, and aiming towards super-compliance with these really, really onerous provisions, Hope Springs from Field PAC seeks to undermine that strategy, while informing voters about the new laws and regulations aimed at them. There’s a lot of work to be done, but fortunately, the three states that are making it most difficult are also states in which you can knock on doors at least 10 months out of the year. And, with your help, we will be there, getting our people to super-comply with these restrictive provisions.
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 help:
Thank you for your support.
Should DoJ Indict Donald Trump?
Should DoJ Indict Donald Trump?
Of Course! What is taking so long?
Depends on the Evidence (& If they could get a Conviction)
No. We Don't Prosecute Former Presidents