Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Knock By Knock, Campaigns Push N.H. To Vote


Iowa and New Hampshire among the handful of battleground states expected to decide the presidency. Both are places where voter participation is usually high, and the Obama and Romney campaigns are working hard this weekend to drive that turnout higher. In a minute, we'll hear from Iowa Public Radio's Sarah McCammon on the GOP's get out the vote efforts.

But first, Josh Rogers, of New Hampshire Public Radio, takes a look at Democratic efforts in the Granite State.


JOSH ROGERS, BYLINE: By 10 A.M. yesterday, a union hall on Concord's east side was full of Obama volunteers and filled by the fast talking voice of 22-year-old field organizer Steven Kidder.

STEVEN KIDDER: We intend to make eight passes through Concord between now and Election Day. So we want to make sure we talk to as many people as possible, and nag them and shame them into voting on November 6th.

ROGERS: Kidder's mention of shaming was no accident. In the waning hours of this race, the Obama campaign sees it as a powerful tool. Research shows that asking people what time they plan to vote rather than if they will vote, and telling people their neighbors are voting, can increase turnout. As Steven Kidder told volunteers, Team Obama thinks that the shame approach could give the president the edge.

KIDDER: Obama and Mitt Romney are tied, dead even for people who turn out in every single election. But for people who turn out less often, Obama has a pretty significant lead. So we're capitalizing on this by doing this. So these conversations today will re-elect the president.

ROGERS: Out on the streets of Concord, a city that tilts democratic, signs of canvassing are everywhere. Fliers hang on doorknobs, as people bearing clipboards like campaign volunteer Laurie Cyr, try to get their bearings.

LAURIE CYR: We looking for 67. Seventy-one, 75...

ROGERS: Watching from across the street is Kathy Pothier, a wedding photographer who supports President Obama. She says the canvassers have been working the neighborhood for a while.

KATHY POTHIER: I've probably had five people over the last month and a half.

ROGERS: The Obama campaign won't say how many voters it's contacted here, but will say canvassing is taking place out of all of its 22 offices, some of which have been open for more than a year. Republicans have just nine offices in the state, plus what they perhaps ambitiously call their mobile office.

TOMMY SCHULTZ: It's basically like a guy in his car and he brings a bunch of cell phones to like someone's house, and they'll phone bank and everything.

ROGERS: Tommy Schultz is state spokesman for the Republican National Committee. He says Republicans working for Mitt Romney have knocked on 300,000 doors in New Hampshire and made a million phone calls, far outpacing local efforts on behalf of John McCain four years ago.

SCHULTZ: We made seven times as many door knocks and two times as many phone calls as they did.

ROGERS: Both sides say the push will be non-stop through Tuesday. That's not far off. But as retired Dr. Mary Deal told the Obama canvasser Laurie Cyr, that still leaves plenty of time to worry.

DR. MARY DEAL: I am so nervous.

CYR: About how close it is?


CYR: That's why we're out here, to just remind everybody how important this is.

DEAL: You got to get them out.

CYR: And vote.

ROGERS: And that reminding won't let up until the polls close.

For NPR News, I'm Josh Rogers in Concord. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Josh Rogers, NHPR