Monday, November 3, 2008

Big Fat Change Day: Phonebanking for Obama

You're wasting your time, brother. You can't tell me nothing that'll make me vote for that son-of-a-bitch.
That quote, from an old angry Iowa man, and the one Pennsylvannia woman who, when I called for her much younger son, stated with quiet desperation that "no one in this house is voting for Obama," amounts to the full amount of NObama response I received when I phonebanked for Obama this morning. I went through many sheets of phone numbers from Iowa and Pennsylvannia, and while I mostly talked to answering machines, a surprising percentage of the human beings I did connect with happily passed on that they had either already voted for Obama or were planning to do so tomorrow.

What brought on this last-minute scramble to do something for Obama was a poll I read on on Sunday evening, which, for the first time in weeks, gave McCain more than 200 electoral votes in their projection. This ended up being an outlier, as Monday's polls have pushed those projections back down, and once I learned that most of the polls that give Obama only slight leads in the battleground states don't use voters with cellular lines, it's become certain to me that the only question for Tuesday is whether Obama will enjoy a landslide or just a simple victory. Nevertheless, by then I had already signed up for a full 8 hours of phonebanking on Monday.

It wasn't fun, although it was so very encouraging. In the middle of a workday in Walnut Creek - rich, white, and as close to Republican as it gets in the Bay Area - the phonebanking room was filled wall-to-wall with folks of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds, so many that people ended up being forced outside to phone under tarps in the rain. If re-evaluating the polls had not encouraged me, that turnout finished the job. That said, it was really tiring work, and when my fully-charged phone finally died out, I was kind of relieved. I can't say I feel satisfied that I did everything I could in this election cycle - either for Obama or for No on Prop 8 - but it was nice to get in a little more activism before this all ends on Tuesday.

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