My Day at the NH Polls and the Tsunami of Women Voters
by NewHampster, Thu Jan 10, 2008 at 08:32:37 AM EST
Cross posted with my permission from my dKos diary. Daily Kos links and references not edited.
I was the Clinton visibility captain for Londonderry, NH, the second busiest polling place in NH, and this diary focuses on my observations of the voters on Tuesday 1/08/2008.
My day began at 5 AM and I arrived at our single polling location shortly after 5:30. First job was to plant about 50 signs along the drive leading to Londonderry High's Gymnasium. Having gotten up well before other campaigns, I of course put our signs on the prime real estate up here. The tops of plowed snow piles, the entrance corner, all along the drive and around the fenced entrance to the polls.
Those signs look pretty and make supporters feel good but that's not what won New Hampshire for Hillary.
The Un-Polled, Unregistered women of NH came out in record numbers for Hillary. The pundits can pull their hair out all day but the answer to why the polls were wrong is simple.
Those who were never polled, never called, never canvassed came out for Hillary.
9,433 Total Votes 4214 Dem Ballots and 5219 Rep Ballots
There were over 1000 same day registrations of new voters.
Who were those new voters?
Before we get to the voters I observed I'd like to try and convey a feeling for the experience of the New Hampshire Primary and the incredible young people that come here to make history.
If you'd like to skip to the meat please do. It's way down below.
Many of my diary entries have been Field Diaries and I invite you to read them while skipping the candidate diaries in between.
I jumped into this campaign with two feet sometime back in May. I was already committed to Hillary when a pesky Clinton staffer named Katie Belgard somehow found me and over a series of three or four calls convinced me that my life was of no consequence in relation to helping Hillary.
Katie is typical of the staff and full-time volunteers I came to know since May. She is a NH native and full-time college student who somehow also finds complete weekends and many nights to give to the campaign.
I've met and grown to admire many Katies since May. Salem/Derry/Londonderry regional Director Katie Sullivan from Boston is a recent Harvard grad. who worked on the Kerry campaign, the Deval Patrick campaign and worked in the Patrick administration drafting education reform until the draw of Hillary pulled her north to New Hampshire.
Katie Sullivan rallying the troops.
And then there was my own town of Londonderry organizer Kate Stoltenberg. Yes, it sometimes got confusing working for Team Katie but it never got boring. Stoltenberg is one of those energizer bunnies who can canvass a whole small town in a morning and make a few hundred phone calls in the afternoon and evening.
Jeremy and Kate S.
Team Katie also had it's soldiers. Arthur Lewis and Jeremy Lerman. These guys make more phone calls in an hour than I make in a month. They also get up at sunrise to install 4x8 signs and of course knock on so many doors their knuckles are callused.
Also impressive is the sheer numbers of out of staters who come here on their own dime to help a candidate. All candidates have them and they should all be proud of what they do.
Kossack Masslib in the Salem office with NewHampster
These were just some of the people in the Salem office, those I worked with every weekend and many nights.
Friday January 4th through Primary Tuesday
We had a series of kick off meeting in the days preceding the final push. I was assigned to visibility in my town and believe me, when you volunteer for a well oiled campaign you are an employee and you follow orders. At least when you work for the team of a great manager like Katie Sullivan. My evenings were no longer mine and weekends, what are those?
But, Friday I attended and volunteered for the State Dems at the 100 club Dinner.
All weekend and all night we canvassed, we put out thousands of signs and of course made more phone calls than I could count. All the time keeping track of every little detail of each contact and touch. It is an amazing experience.
Monday night I attended Hillary's last major rally in Manchester then tried to get some sleep.
The polls and the voters
The doors opened at 7 after we campaign workers had a short meeting with the moderator. Where we could stand, where not to hang signs, who to ask for the vote tallys etc.
Part of the job of Viz Captain is to go inside and get the counts from the machines. How many Republican ballots cast and how mant Democratic ballots. Katie wanted this information at specific times during the day at which point I walked in said hello to my friends the poll workers, got the numbers and called them in. I saw the lines and observed the lines with an eye towards who was voting.
But I digress. At 7:15 Bill Clinton showed up to join us for an hour of hand shaking and picture taking. The line to vote from 7 - 9 goes outside the building and people were enjoying just plain chatting with Bill.
I had my exciting moment when he told me one of my ideas I had presented impressed him enough that Hillary included it in her last major speech. He also signed the shoulder of my Hillary hoodie.
Yes, I'm honored and the adrenalin is still rushing from yesterday.
We stood all day at the corner of the fence where folks walk in past the Gauntlet of signs. We always had a team of 3 or 4 and sometimes more, but Erica was there all day saying "Good Morning" as people walked in.
Erica was the first to notice something odd
Just about every other woman would give us the thumbs up as they passed. Understand, we heard the polls too and had convinced ourselves that we'd be losing this day. But they not only gave us thumbs up, most of them were doing it in a shy surreptitious manner as if they didn't want their husbands to see. This continued all day peppered with the winks and loud Go Hillary we got from many men.
Where was the Obama wave? It arrived at noon.
At noon we got worried. The kids had woken from their winter break deep sleep and began to arrive in droves. It continued for about two hours then all of a sudden we were back to the normal mix of 30+ adults. When the wave ended Erica and I both noticed like a switch had been thrown.
Inside to the lines
I was inside the building every hour or two and the first thing I noticed besides the obvious huge turnout, was the steadily growing line for same day registrations. We allow people to register on the day of the primary then go vote. These are new young voters and older folks who have not voted before.
Londonderry had, I'll repeat.
9,433 Total Votes 4214 Dem Ballots cast and 5219 Rep Ballots cast
There were over 1000 same day registrations of new voters. Over 10%.
- In the morning I noticed a blend of old and young, men and women.
- At midday the line looked like the line for a rock concert.
- At 3 and later the line started to lean heavily towards middle aged and older men and women. Many of whom had given me the thumbs up outside.
- This line was so long the polls remained open almost 45 minutes late to allow the people inside the door to vote.
Unregistered voters are not polled. They are not contacted by the campaigns. They are the Invisibles Hillary speaks of often.
The polls were wrong because they not only miss the cellphone only people, they don't poll everyone. They don't poll the thousands of un-registered that voted on Tuesday January 8, 2008.
Which leads into why Hillary is the best candidate Democrats may ever have.
Goldberry had the same thought sometime back when she wrote about the Sisterhood of the traveling Pantsuit.
Here I'm quoting directly from a previous diary of mine which I think Tuesday has proven out.
Mary is in labor and the rethugs fear the Gender Card.
Yes, I'm here to tell you (oh no it's not PC), that this race is about gender. If you don't want to hear my analysis then please go elsewhere rather than shooting me for something you haven't even read.
Of course, this being dKos, I'll get blasted just for my title. I mean, why read when you can just blast away at the nasty, woman supporting hillbot who is playing that gender card thing?
But Mary Mother of Jesus and Virgin Wife of Joseph is not who the republican's fear.
They fear the lowly, Mary Magdalene.
They know that the day a woman is nominated for President millions upon millions upon millions of Marys will register to vote for the first time in their lives.
We Democrats need to win. We need to keep rethug hands off the Supreme Court, we need to end the war, we need to dump the deficit, we need to care for each other through universal health care, we need to create American jobs.
Do you agree?
I thought so. Well, Karl Rove and his beady eyed researchers down in his computer room in hell don't want us to win. And they figured out one very important Fact. If ever there is a woman nominated, 1/2 of the population will go absolutely bonkers crazy with joy.
Did I mention I might get slapped around for saying sexist crap?
Sex Sex Sex. People do it so get over it. I'm a man. I also know that woman are not men. Woman think differently, look at problems differently and generally work their butts off solving the screw ups of us men.
So, in a previous diary I reported on my stripper research in Las Vegas. The synopsis being that through a tough few nights of hard work I polled the strippers of Vegas. I wore my Hillary button everywhere I went and girl/woman after girl came up to me to say how much they loved Hillary and the thought of a woman president was cool. They also told me that in their job, with children and as single mothers Hillary was the only one running who understood and cared about them.
Two of them happened to mention that they registered to vote for the first time, just so they could vote for Hillary in the primary.
Now I know, strippers will say anything for $20. But honestly, I think they were being sincere.
Women. Left out of society women, hookers, single mothers and women like the strippers see in Hillary their chance to finally break through. They see this not as Hillary's race, they see it as Their race. They see it as their chance for the equal rights some still deny them. They see it as a fight for their children and the hope of a better world under a mother's guidance.
The days and months after Hillary is nominated will see the greatest voter registration the country has ever known. There may not be enough forms available. The Republican men will be living in divided households and discovering the wonders of porn.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is the greatest threat the GOP has ever faced.
She is a Woman.
I was a little off in that diary. I thought the Tsunami of voter registrations would start once she's nominated but the Vegas experience should have given a clue. They are registering now and same day where allowed. The women want a woman to clean up after the boys.
Democrats. This woman whether you like her policies or not, this woman will give us the best opportunity in generations to get the majority we need to make things right.
Let the Tsunami Begin