Looking to recreate the sizable spike in turnout in the 2008 election, Democrats on campus are making a new push to get out the vote in 2010.
Members of the Penn Democrats, some with extensive canvassing experience and others with none, went door-to-door in West Philadelphia on Saturday on behalf of the Democratic candidates for Governor and Senate — Dan Onorato and U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, respectively.
While handing out campaign literature on the candidates to Penn students and area residents alike, Penn Dems Deputy Political Director and Wharton sophomore Troy Daly offered some tips on how to engage residents while canvassing.
Daly highlighted the difficult balancing act between making a forceful pitch and coming on too strong. “Worst case scenario, they shut the door on me,” Daly explained, “but my job is to get people to vote.”
The canvassers faced many of the typical challenges of a door-to-door campaign: empty houses and tenants that have changed residences.
Volunteers also experienced a few atypical challenges on Saturday — including one student who said he was in the midst of a drinking game and was too “in the zone” to speak about voting in November.
Despite these challenges, volunteers still expressed their commitment to the campaign.
“I wanted to get involved now because this is the first major election I can vote in,” College freshman Casey Peeks said.
At the organization’s first general body meeting on Thursday, Penn Dems President and College junior Emma Ellman-Golan linked the success of Pennsylvania Democrats this November to turnout in Philadelphia.
“If people in Philadelphia come out to vote, the state goes blue,” Ellman-Golan said. “That is our job this year.”
Nevertheless, Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania still face an uphill battle. A Rasmussen poll conducted on Sept. 13 had Sestak trailing his Republican opponent, former Congressman Pat Toomey, by a 49 to 41 percent margin, with 8 percent of the electorate still undecided.
However the Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan group that analyzes political races, currently lists the race as a “toss up,” meaning it is an election “either party has a good chance of winning.”
A separate Rasmussen poll conducted on Sept. 13 had Onorato trailing Republican gubernatorial nominee and Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett by a 49 to 39 percent margin, with 10 percent undecided. The Cook Political Report lists the race as “lean Republican,” a race considered competitive but one in which Republicans have an advantage.
The Penn Dems will be conducting canvasses on Saturdays and phone banks on Tuesdays through the remainder of the election season.Comments powered by Disqus
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