Work as a team. Even if you go off separately meet up at the end so you can find out] what sort of “feel” people were getting. Meet in a pub or at somebody’s house. It makes sure you get the canvas cards back and that you can help build the team.
Recording your data
You may hear other Agents and activists talking about having done a ‘full canvass’. This implies that they have spoken to every household in their patch. In reality this just does not happen – even in the biggest by-election campaign imaginable, there will always be someone who is out when the canvassers call.
The figure that matters is the percentage contact rate. This is the percentage of the electorate who have been spoken to by one of our canvassers and the number on our shuttleworth.
You need to have a system for dealing with all the data that comes in from canvass cards so that no valuable information is lost. Make sure it gets to the helper who is dealing with EARS and it is input regularly (ideally nightly so that it doesn’t build up).
The data should then be analysed regularly to help you target your campaigning within your ward and between wards.
- Check that the canvassing is legible and that you can read any notes (while you can still remember who did what road so that you can chase them up)
- Take off information about who took/wants posters
- Put Car Calls onto a master list (this can be done in EARs)
- Take off casework and other items that need urgent action (e.g. postal votes)
- Make sure the canvassers name is on each sheet in case of any queries.
- It is a good idea to give all canvassers a debrief sheet so that they can give notes of any important issues that need picking up. This will also allow the campaign organiser to pick up information about what messages of ours (and the opposition!) are having an impact.
Any issues raised on the doorstep should be noted down and passed onto whoever is dealing with the casework in your campaign – probably you!! – to be dealt with. Quite often good localised campaigning issues can be picked up on the doorstep.
For example if a few people complain about parking or uncollected rubbish on their street. It may well be worth doing a street letter on that issue.
If a piece of casework is looking lengthy or complicated offer to phone them back after it’s dark.Getting a fair sample
Canvassing should be planned so that you have a sample of the whole ward at all times.
You should never plan your canvassing so that you start at one side of the ward and work your way across polling district by polling district.
When entering your canvass data into EARS use the conventions agreed in your district/borough. If these have not been set then we recommend using:
for a fair sample – usually foot canvassing -for comparisons.
for skewed data e.g. phone canvassing, on ”good area” canvassed too hard to increase shuttleworth but not representative.
for soft data. E.g. surveys petitions, assumptions