Written by Jake Bennett, AM Wisconsin Intern
- Execute on The First Impression – Today people rarely answer their phones if they see an unknown number. Most people will not want to talk to a stranger coming up to their door to discuss politics. It is crucial to have a short and concise opening statement down that includes introducing who you are along with who the candidate is as well. Make the most of every door that you knock because sometimes it is the only direct contact a person gets with the campaign, and it may just win your candidate a vote.
- Always Carry Campaign Literature – This will provide the potential voter with a brief overview of where the candidate stands on some of the issues and can help guide the conversation at the door. They will likely mention any issue listed that is meaningful to them. Literature is also important to leave with the potential voter (or at their door if they do not answer) because it will list the website of the candidate which will give more information about stances on policies, volunteering, and donating. Talking with the voter is far more effective than leaving literature behind. Save literature drops for people that do not answer the door.
- Use Door Knocking Apps – Hitting every single door along a route is a very inefficient and old school way of door knocking. Today there are apps that create voter models of households which project which way they may lean politically (one example being Voter Gravity) . Using these apps will help you be more successful with hitting houses that may actually be interested with some of the beliefs your candidate has. The apps also let you record how each door knock goes and compiles that data much more efficiently than someone using just paper and a pen could. You’d be surprised how many doors are missed because some volunteers still use pen, paper, and printed out walklists which all are inefficient and time consuming.
- Never Speak on Behalf of The Candidate – When people ask questions about where your candidate stands on certain policy or current news and you are not knowledgeable about it, be honest and tell them you aren’t sure about that particular policy. It is best to point the potential voter to the campaign website so they can email their questions and it can be answered exactly how the candidate wants it to be. You do not want to be giving out false information about what your candidate believes.
- Do Not Talk Poorly About The Opponent – One of the biggest mistakes is bad mouthing the opponent when door knocking. You should keep the conversation focused on your candidate and their strengths. It makes your candidate appear weak and should only be used when door knocking if the campaign or the candidate specifically instructs you to do so.
- 20+ Doors Per Hour – That is typically the standard everyone aims for when it comes to fall elections. Keeping up with that number will make you stay on track and let you plan for how many doors you want to knock each day and how long that may take. If you were to knock 20 doors an hour for 5 hours every day for 8 weeks you would reach about 5,600 households. Think about how many doors could be knocked by a well-organized team. For primary or smaller local elections the door per hour rate can be adjusted to fit the campaign’s goal.
- Avoid Confrontations – There are going to be some people you run into who will want to get into an argument over your candidate. You should assume that every interaction you have at every door is being recorded. Do not get into an altercation or an intense debate with anyone. You should simply smile and say thank you for your time and move onto the next door. Remember when door knocking you not only represent yourself but also the campaign.