Dear Norma (aka Florida Undecided Voter)

I spent last week canvassing in Florida with my family.  On my final day of canvassing, Oct 27th – the first day of Florida early vote, I went with my son around a neighborhood where we had the opportunity to meet many voters. The most emblematic of them and the one that really sheds a light on what we’re facing in these remaining days was: Norma.

After introductions, I asked her if she’s supporting Obama. “I just don’t know” she replied. She went on to share that she had been leaning Obama, but a friend who was a Romney supporter persuaded her otherwise. SO – I asked her “what matters to her” before launching into any diatribe. Sure glad I asked! “I’m a lower-middle class voter,” she started, “and it’s not clear to me that the President has made any progress during his term.”

Racing through my head were conflicting thoughts:

  • Thought 1: “WOW – I got one! A real bonafide UNDECIDED. YES!!! Okay – calm down and think about how you’ll get them on board.”
  • Thought 2: “How could anyone be an undecided at this point? What can I learn from this? I have so many questions to ask her!”

SO – I took a deep breath, and went to my most zen place so that I could answer her slowly and effectively.

Me: “Thank you so much for sharing that with me. Did you know, under President Obama, we’ve now had 31 months in a row of positive job growth? And that we’ve had a 900K job swing from January 2009 when we were hemorrhaging 800k jobs/month to now when we’re generating about 100K jobs/month?”

Norma: “No! I didn’t realize that.”

Me: “It’s true – plus – the unemployment rate is now down to 7.8% – although the President knows that there’s still further to go and more progress to make. But let me also tell you why I’m, personally, here. I’m here because of my daughter who, when she gets a job, will be paid equal pay for equal work and, someday when she’s old enough, she’ll have the right to choose. I’m here because of my mother who no longer is subject to the donut hole!”

Norma then shared that she knows folks impacted by the donut hole because she’s in the healthcare industry. She went on to talk about the Republican billboards that accuse Obama of caring about marriage equality and choice – and that she disagreed with the billboards and, in fact,that they made her favor Obama. Basically, by the end of our conversation, she was chiming in with reasons to support Obama too.

As I left, she was still undecided, but definitely leaning Obama.

This experience further supports the fact that the Obama campaign’s focus on ground game is going to be the deciding factor in this election. All the ads, billboards, and endorsements haven’t helped Norma to make her decision. But – friends and people knocking on her door will.

SO – Norma – as we enter the final days of this election, may strength and wisdom be with you and may you keep in mind the affect of your decision on you as well as on the future of this country.


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