October 29, 2004

TWO STRATEGIES AT THE KERRY RALLY IN MADISON YESTERDAY, as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. First, campaign workers swirled through the crowd (I saw them) asking who has a cell phone.

Thousands of cards asking people to call and urge others to vote for Kerry were passed out. The cards included a script that people could read, and the crowd was asked to make the rally “the biggest phone bank in political history.” But not many people appeared to be making calls.

This is an interesting study in human behavior. I think people doing a scripted phone call don’t like to be standing around in public being seen and heard. I’m not surprised people weren’t eager to do this. I can also see why campaign people got fired up thinking it would be great: all those kids have cell phones … what if they all called from the big rally? Some high tech ideas just don’t take off. And I wonder if the campaign people realize how sick of phone calls from them at least this person of Wisconsin is.

Here’s the second strategy:

People … were urged to go from the rally to the nearby Madison city clerk’s office to vote early. However, no major surge of people appeared to be doing that. Early and absentee voting has been brisk in Madison and elsewhere in the state. The clerk’s office said it would stay open until 8 p.m. Thursday to accommodate voters.

So that one wasn’t so popular either? I guess part of the idea of early voting is to avoid lines, so when 80,000 people are urged to go over and vote, you’ve really lost the whole attraction. And remember, the crowd was urged to show up at 10 a.m. and the rally ended around 2 in the afternoon. Time to trudge over to another downtown location and stand around. No, maybe time to go get something to eat or do some studying. Yesterday was actually a big mid-term exam day here on the UW campus.

UPDATE: According to this report, fewer people showed up to vote in City Hall yesterday than came in the previous day.

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