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21 October 2008

This is why I never canvas alone (part politics-filter, part nonpartisan word of caution)[More:]I never, I mean never, go door to door by myself. And here you see why. There was at least one occasion I can think of offhand, in this cycle, where I thought that I would have been punched if they hadn't seen my buddy waiting for me to catch up at the head of the sidewalk.

And it can be worse than that, too. A good friend's mom was raped when she was going door to door for her union. My friend didn't find out until she told her mother she was canvassing this year, and her mom freaked out and warned her never to go alone.

The most alone I'll ever get is alternating houses with a buddy on the same side of the street. But I still prefer going to the same doors at the same time. Usually just having a second pair of eyes to witness will be enough to keep most of the loonies in check. And god forbid, with the worst of them, there is someone to call for help if the other gets into a situiation.

I know a lot of us are canvassing and such right now, and the idea to split up and cover twice the ground is tempting. It's a serious risk, though. Especially given how heated emotions are on both sides now.
That story actually happened less than a mile from where I live. It's a pretty strange area because it's really close to urban Racine and rural farmland. Parts of it are awash with McCain signs and other sections have gigantic Obama ones.

posted by drezdn 21 October | 07:59
I go canvasing alone but I'm a guy and stand 6'2" and weigh 250#, if I were a woman I'd always go with a buddy. I definitely wouldn't want my wife to canvas alone.
posted by octothorpe 21 October | 08:23
In the story, it sounds like she wasn't alone.

I like having a buddy anyway - it's a little more like a social conversation that way.
posted by Miko 21 October | 08:32
I do think that psychologically, it's more effective for a team to canvas since it makes you look less like a lone wacko. The population here is very old and when my wife and I canvas together we always introduce ourselves as husband and wife. That seems to soften them up a little; we're not sales people then, we're a nice young couple who came to talk about Obama.
posted by octothorpe 21 October | 08:59
It's nice to see all of you taking a nice and reasoned approach to canvassing and spreading the message. Things are getting particularly ugly here in NC. Someone wrapped a dead bear in Obama signs in the western part of the state yesterday, and tires were slashed at an Obama rally in Fayetteville.
Republicans keeping it classy in North Carolina. I would presume that it would be dangerous to be a Barack Obama supporter in certain portions of this state.
posted by msali 21 October | 09:05
I do think that psychologically, it's more effective for a team to canvas since it makes you look less like a lone wacko.

posted by Miko 21 October | 09:25
As someone a little door-shy, I find the prospect of a canvassing double-team a little off-putting, actually. Which is not to say it's a bad idea, but I see one person and think "okay, what now", but two people makes me wonder if I should even open the goddam door.

Whether I am a lone freak or part of a constituency in this respect, I have no idea.

I did a little canvassing for OSPIRG back in college -- at the time, they were trying to rack up new members (and their donations, natch) on a push against a big timber cut into some sensitive area or another.

And there's only so much territory to cover in Portland proper, so you end up pushing out and out, and a couple cars full of clipboards ended up out in a goddam logging town forty or fifty minutes out of the city. Door to door there was worst than in most places I worked that summer; people were reasonably polite when they did open their doors for me, but there wasn't a lot of interest in shutting down the one thing keeping their town's collective head above water.

That was the town where one of our guys got jumped as he walked away from an unanswer door. Guy must have seen the canvasser through the peephole, recognized OSPIRG (or just scoped the hippie citykid greencore vibe) and plastered him from behind when he was leaving.
posted by cortex 21 October | 10:23
Seeing two people at the door here invariably means mormons. I used to sort of enjoy their visits because essentially the only thing to sit on in that apartment was the back seat out of a Plymouth Voyager which, with a little cover over it, made a perfectly serviceable couch - for me. But I can't even explain how comically uncomfortable two young missionary dudes could look sitting squeezed together on it.
posted by Wolfdog 21 October | 10:34
I don't think that anyone would mistake my wife and I for Mormans.
posted by octothorpe 21 October | 10:51
Two words: Second Amendment.

Self defense is a civil right.

I'm sure our Conservative friends agree with these two points.
posted by matteo 21 October | 12:16
"Especially given how heated emotions are on both sides now."

Always with 2, I'd recommend. You're walking into the unknown.You don't know if there's an Aryan nation get together inside or someone doing something illegal and may be jumpy... A pack of wolves can take down a moose...

Dress code in effect, easily recognizable party affiliation at a glance wear. [That and the backup shotgun, hey, this is America, right┐]
posted by alicesshoe 21 October | 12:41
I also canvassed in college (and also for a PIRG). It was just about the worst job ever. I don't think I ever felt unsafe, even when we went into the burbs. I did feel incredibly icky, though. Just all-round uncomfortable.
posted by mudpuppie 21 October | 12:58
Oh, and that dead bear story is just plain horrible. I hope the secret service gets involved in that one. I don't see how it couldn't be perceived as a threat. It's an effigy of sorts; even worse that it used to be alive.
posted by mudpuppie 21 October | 12:59
oh, sigh i wish i could always canvass with peeps! Much much much more fun!
posted by By the Grace of God 21 October | 17:54
I love that Obama himself spoke to the woman in that article.

Two more weeks, folks, two more...
posted by Lipstick Thespian 21 October | 20:11
Obama's totally a class act.
God, I can't believe how soon it is. I guess early voting is showing record turnouts, too. Maybe this will be the year we break 75% turnout...
posted by kellydamnit 21 October | 22:42
I want to stick my long necked giraffe up your fluffy white bunny. || Hmm