Monday, October 17, 2011

Talking to voters

This evening, one of the folks I follow on Twitter posted: “why is it that so many MPs spend half their time at schools, creches and infirm people at rest homes. What’s wrong with talking to voters?” For some reason, that question instantly reminded me of the Whittaker’s Peanut Slab commercial from the 1990s.

But it actually does get at something that’s puzzled me: Why DO New Zealand election candidates spend so much time at “public meetings” and so little going door-to-door? In nearly 16 years living in New Zealand, I don’t believe a candidate for anything has ever knocked on my door, nor, as far as I can remember, has any party or campaign worker done so.

Efforts to meet voters one-on-one are the most time-consuming way of campaigning, no doubt about it, but it’s also free, so doesn’t affect campaign budgets. I’m sure that the reason candidates go to public meetings is because it’s a way of talking face-to-face with a lot of people at once—face-to-face, yes, but not one-on-one, which is what I’m talking about.

Anyway, this is just something I’m curious about, not one I’m seriously expecting an answer to, nor am I suggesting there’s anything wrong with the way they do things. It just seems to me that with so little money available, going door-to-door would be kind of an obvious thing to do. Well, when there’s not a public meeting, anyway.

Now, I think I may have a Whittaker’s Peanut Slab around here somewhere…


Roger Owen Green said...

Don't know know about there, but here, even for local elections (school board, city council), door-to-door seems obtrusive. And inefficient compared to mailings and fliers.

Roger Owen Green said...

Oh, people sometimes do come door-to-door to get signatures on petitions, but that's been rarer, too. Think the committeepeople get the party regulars to do that.