Often, people think that canvassing is about arguing with people on the doorstep. It really isn't. It's fun and can be a great way of meeting people in the community.
The primary goal is to find out whether they’re going to vote Labour (a ‘promise’). So we can try to make sure they vote on polling day (Get Out The Vote) and send promotional info to them in the future. And to find out who else in the household might be a Labour voter?
Be polite and friendly at all times
(You don’t need to use the exact words below, or in this particular order. Relax, be natural.)
Hi, I’m ..(first name only).. from the local Labour Party.
Sorry to bother/disturb you.
Are you Mr / Mrs / Miss ……? You’ll be given some names for the house, try to confirm a name for the Voter ID form if possible, but don’t make a big deal of it.
- If there are, say, two male names and a man answers the door you might say: I note that there is a Fred and James on the register. Can I ask which you are? (Be sensitive to the possibility that gender might be non-binary.)
- If a voter in the house has already been contacted but one hasn't you can say something like: I was hoping to speak to Mary Smith.
There’s a council election coming on May 3rd. I’m here representing our candidate - (know you candidate’s name and use it!)
Are there any local issues that you think your councillor should be looking into?
We were wondering whether you’d decided which way you’re going to vote?
- If they seem enthusiastic about Labour, ask if they’ll put up one of our small posters in their window. If they’re enthusiastic and have a front garden with soil in it, ask if we can put up one our estate-agent styled posted signs. If they say yes, then just record their details and say someone will be in touch to install the sign. - If they say they're Labour voters ask if they are registered for postal votes! Point out that illness, people visiting, accidents, bad weather, having to be away that day, etc can get in the way. A far higher percentage (roughly 75% vs 30% for non-postal) of postal voters actually vote, and the Tories have far more supporters registered for postal voting.
- There’s no need to get into a debate on anything, but if you do and it becomes long or tricky then it’s better to acknowledge their concerns with empathy and politely move on, especially if they seem firmly opposed to us. Time spent debating is rarely productive unless they seem on the verge of supporting us.
- A nice smile and a respectful listening and noting of their concerns / criticisms, with maybe a gentle suggestion of an alternative viewpoint when necessary, will 99% of the time achieve far more than cleverly/forcefully pointing out why and how they’re wrong.
- We have a lot of doors to knock on, don’t get slowed down!