In Derry, GOP Canvassers Find Voters Are Divided

Oct 23, 2016

With just over two weeks until Election Day, campaigns from both parties are stepping up their efforts to reach voters in New Hampshire. NHPR’s Jason Moon tagged along with some Republican volunteers as they made their case to voters in southern New Hampshire over the weekend.

On Sunday afternoon a handful of canvassers with the state Republican Party met in the parking lot of a Derry restaurant. From there, they set out into a leafy, suburban neighborhood.

The goal was to reach undecided voters – ideally before the Patriots game started later that afternoon. With the help of a canvassing app, the group went from door to door, logging the reactions of voters as they went.

Derry is a Republican-leaning town and many of the voters who answered their doors, like Paul Ford, were sympathetic to the cause.

"You have two Trump voters right in this house," Ford told the canvassers.

But when he was asked about the U.S. Senate race between Governor Maggie Hassan and Senator Kelly Ayotte, Ford was less certain - though his reasoning was more personal than political.

“You know we’re not sure. At one time I was an elementary school principal, before I retired. And I was in Exeter, and I happened to have Governor Hassan’s two children as students. And she’s very near and dear to me, she was very supportive of education and very supportive of the kids in Exeter, so that’s a tough one.”

Ford wasn’t the only voter in Derry struggling with his decision.

Kevin Morrison was unloading the trunk of his car in his driveway when a volunteer asked if he knew who he would be voting for.

“I did. I did.

You did?

And I was originally for Trump.

Yay!

And I’m in the ‘never-Hillary’ camp.

Good. Well we like to hear that.

But also I’m in the ‘does he have to be such an idiot?’ camp. So, I’ve been a little turned off lately. But I still think I have to vote for him.”

Republican canvassers like Lily Grady seem to take these kinds of responses in stride. She says the negative impressions some voters have of Donald Trump are due to unfair coverage from the media.

“The media is not doing their job right, I think. They’re biased and at this point they’re not evening trying to hide their bias."

Whether due to media bias or some other reason, the volunteers did seem to be up against a climate of political negativity. One voter said there were no good choices. Another called the presidential race embarrassing. One man, while leaning out from behind his front door, said he hates both presidential candidates and wouldn’t be voting for either.

So with just 16 days remaining before Election Day, it seems both parties have their work cut out for them.