STAGE TWO : ANALYSING THE VOTE
So, we’ve covered how to canvass using the TORRENT model, and now comes the important bit. What do you do with the information?
Step 1. Collate.
You need to collate your Greens, Whites and Yellows first. Obviously, you will want to know the numbers. SF break this down by areas too – so that they can vote manage their transfers in order to get their maximum number of candidates over the line.
Once you have your number of greens, these go to a list, and an eye is kept on them on polling day to ensure their vote has come out (We will cover this in stage three).
The Yellows are the ones to concentrate on, because these voters need to be swayed before election day. These will be tracked and canvass teams sent back once, maybe twice in order to try and move them to greens.
The whites are basically a lost cause in terms of the election you want their vote for, but that doesn’t mean that Sinn Fein will ignore them as a party. They will ask, at the canvass what the persons main objection is, or if they have any difficulties. And this is where the constituency service comes in. Put simply, SF will try to woo the voter for the next election.
Now, back to the numbers. SF have been building up an overall picture of their vote for years. What better way for them to hone their electoral intelligence than to track votes? The party had a computer database devised by a Newry man in 2000. That database can not only search electoral areas by roll, but it can also give the numbers of green white and yellow votes – it gives the party the clearest picture yet, of where exactly their vote sits at, based on info given on the doorsteps. And it can be tracked election to election.
It’s probably not done by other parties, who usually will only go on information from the previous election, but Sinn Fein have honed their approach.
In addition to the collation of numbers, vitally important for polling day (and we will explain why in Stage three – ensuring your votes come out), Sinn Féin will run a media campaign, a poster and leaflet campaign, and this year a very effective social media one. However, as the recent election shows, particularly for NI21, media campaigns alone will not win votes. Your vote will be won – or lost, on the doorstep. Parties sometimes forget this.
Groups of voters will also be targeted. First time voters will receive individual letters, and a knock at the door all of their very own, and material will be dispatched through the letterbox. Parties, again take note. Few people read the election post material.
We could write all day about this stage of the canvass in more detail, but have just simplified the basics. In part three we will look at how Sinn Féin approach polling day – and how they ensure their vote comes out…