The state of New Hampshire prides itself on being “First in the Nation” for the presidential primaries. The people here seem to love to come out and see the candidates and ask them questions. They pride themselves on being one of the first groups to analyze the candidates and pave the way for the rest of the primary season. It has been a wonderful experience to interact with so many politically informed and active citizens during door-knocking sessions and town hall meetings. Unfortunately, that positive attitude does not transfer to phone calls.
In the two weeks that I have been here I have made over 1000 phone calls. Most of them go to voicemail, but the people who pick up the phone are not hesitant to yell at faceless volunteers. If all I did was phone calling, I’d think New Hampshire hates the primary. There are people who are determined to keep their ballots private and some that are just openly hostile toward specific candidates (and their volunteer callers by default). It is not uncommon to get an angry exclamation and hang-up either. However, most people complain that they have been called four or five times already that day and are sick of the harassment.
I can understand the frustration with the phone calls. I have been on the other side of the phone many times back in Minnesota. It is frustrating to have candidates and special interest groups calling multiple times while trying to eat dinner. It is one thing to go to an event on your own volition, but phone calls tend to have an intrusive feeling. Organizations are calling you on your own time, and invading your own home. It is hard to be polite when callers are invading your personal life. I will admit that I have been rude to a few volunteer callers in my day, but this experience has changed my perspective. After being on the other side of the phone, I want to do my best to create positive experiences with political callers.